One of Malta’s oldest and most popular cinemas is just hours away from getting a death sentence.
Attempts to renew an expired application for the demolition of the Roxy Cinema in Triq Fleur-De-Lys,
Birkirkara has come under fire after the new application asked for the entire building – including the facade – to be torn down.
The 800-seater was a major part of Birkirkara’s nightlife back in the day, with its unique Art Deco style adding to the magic of cinema. However, an application from Portica Estates hopes to demolish the building to make way for offices, a community centre, garages, and apartments.
Now, with less than 12 hours left to object, local artists and NGOs are trying to make their voices heard to stop the Roxy’s demolition from going through. The deadline for submission of objection is tonight, 29th January.
Raffealla Zammit, manager of the Gabriel Caruana Foundation in Birkirkara, told Lovin Malta why the Roxy Cinema should remain standing.
“It is a part of our architectural heritage, it is an example of Art Deco architecture which is comparatively rare on our islands and therefore should be protected,” she said.
“It is also part of our cultural and social heritage. This is a building that forms part of our heritage and is an example of past cultural and social life. There is also the issue related to transport impact, the area is already heavily congested with traffic and such a proposal would undoubtedly increase the traffic impact on the area,” she said.
She also pointed out what had happened in a similar case in Ħamrun.
“It’s basically the same as what happened to Daniel’s in Ħamrun – an old cinema is demolished in a high street location and transformed into a shopping complex as a mixed used development, and a couple of years later it is facing financial problems,” she said, “Daniel’s has not been successful and is definitely not sustainable.”
The Cinema Heritage Group, a local Voluntary Organisation, has also objected to the demolition of the Roxy, calling it a “significant heritage building on several grounds.”
An application to demolish the interior but keep the facade standing was approved in 2008, but expired. A new application was filed in November 2017.
Should you wish to raise your objection as well, you can follow this link and quote [PA/10438/17].
Skip to 15.19 for a feature on the Roxy Cinema’s history.