HomeFashionAfter seven-figure deal, developer Ta’ Dirjanu moves into Xlendi restaurant that requires...

After seven-figure deal, developer Ta’ Dirjanu moves into Xlendi restaurant that requires sanctioning

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Gozitan property developer Mark Agius – better known as Ta’ Dirjanu after his mother’s supermarkets, and a partner/frontman of most of Joseph Portelli’s mega-projects – has now entered a new line of business as the owner of a top-notch restaurant in Xlendi.

Through a multi-million-euro deal, Agius has taken over il-Terrazzo restaurant at the end of the Xlendi promontory, giving it a facelift and hosting guests for pricey meals.

Just a few weeks after acquiring the new venture, he filed a Planning Authority application to sanction many of the restaurant’s illegalities.

The Shift is also informed that the restaurant’s former owner, who made a killing from the seven-figure deal, was recently recruited as a labourer by the Gozo Ministry and has been put on the public payroll.

According to PA04147/22 submitted by architect Emanuel Vella, Agius now wants the Planning Authority to sanction a bar on an already paved area situated on a Natura 2000 site with idyllic views of Xlendi cliffs. He is also attempting to sanction other illegal structures such as the bar’s light roofing and toilet facilities.

The PA never issued an enforcement order for the illegalities and is now considering the application, which will most likely be approved against a fine.

The restaurant, which has one of the most stunning views in Gozo, started out in a typical Maltese fashion in 1995 as a small ‘temporary’ kiosk offering sunbeds for tourists.

Over time, and under both Nationalist and Labour administrations, the kiosk morphed into a full-blown five-star restaurant with tables and chairs for al fresco dining.

Mark Agius is no stranger to controversy and – together with Joseph Portelli and another partner, Comino-sunbed licensee Daniel Refalo – he has become one of the biggest developers in the country, known for getting the PA to greenlight what are considered to be ‘impossible’ development applications.

The trio is very close to several ministers, including Prime Minister Robert Abela.

Ta’ Dirjanu’s business career is also riddled with abuse of planning laws ignored by the authorities. The most extraordinary illegality, which continues to this day, is an illegal concrete batching plant set up in a quarry owned by the Lands Authority in Kercem.

Despite the blatant illegality being carried out in broad daylight, which has been reported consistently in the media, the government, the Planning Authority, and the Lands Authority have all turned a blind eye to the glaring abuse and have refrained from taking any action. Robert Abela has never commented on the abuse despite his close links to Portelli.

Rubbing salt into the wound, the government, through the Gozo Ministry, conducts regular business with the same illegal batching plant, including procuring concrete for government projects.

                           

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