The Government regrets that it has not been possible to proceed with the wholesale redevelopment of Road to the Lines in the manner which had originally been planned.
It will be recalled that an Expression of Interest closed in October 2019 for the re-development of Road to the Lines into a mixed-use development comprising primarily residential units and some commercial outlets. The Government also published at the time a preferred concept design for a scheme which included some 100 studio apartments and 8 commercial units.
There were four entities who submitted proposals to the Government in response to the advertisement. Once the proposals were analysed, detailed discussions proceeded over many months. This process started with the highest bidder, then moved on to the next one and ended with a third one. The two lockdowns that took place slowed matters down because interested parties wanted to visit every part of the site in person in order to better inform the proposals that had been made. The conclusion of this process is that all three entities have now pulled out and a fourth bid was too low for the Government to consider.
The Government has therefore decided to re-orientate its strategy of urban renewal in this part of the Upper Town. This will involve a reduction in the scale of the proposed re-development in order to make it more attractive to prospective home owners. Instead of putting out to tender the entire area in one go, the Government will instead invite Expressions of Interest in individual buildings from which tenants have already been decanted. This is a process which has worked very successfully in other parts of the Upper Town, where over the years individual buildings have been put out to tender and redeveloped into one or more residential units by their new owners. This policy has contributed to the regeneration of those areas and given new life to those parts of Gibraltar.
There is still plenty of work to be done. This will be a slow process which will take time although the Government expects to be in a position to advertise the first property shortly. It is also important to bear in mind that many properties in the Upper Town are owned by private landlords and not by the Government.