Landowners want return of St Philip’s Hospital land

Shuttered private hospital called upon to pay €95,000 in rent and return Sta Venera land

The hospital has been closed down since 2010, and in 2016 a court of law demanded that Golden Shepherd pay up the sum of €11.5 million in loans to HSBC Malta
The hospital has been closed down since 2010, and in 2016 a court of law demanded that Golden Shepherd pay up the sum of €11.5 million in loans to HSBC Malta

The owners of the land upon which the St Philip’s Hospital was erected, are demanding the rescission of the lease and with it, the return of the land.

The Farrugia estate had leased the land on a perpetual emphyteusis to the Vassallo Builders Group in 1992, and a year later the concession transferred to the Golden Shepherd Group, the administrators of the hospital that was built on the land in Sta Venera.

The owners say that Golden Shepherd failed to pay their rent since 2010, and now owe the landowners over €95,000. The owners have also asked the courts to recoup the land from the hospital group.

The hospital has been closed down since 2010, and in 2016 a court of law demanded that Golden Shepherd pay up the sum of €11.5 million in loans to HSBC Malta.

The company is owned by the former PN candidate Frank Portelli – who in 2017 threw his hat in for the PN leadership – through the companies Golden Shepherd Group and Medicaid Limited.

Court documents show Portelli was ordered to pay a €10.6 million loan representing €7.1 million in capital and €3.5 million in interest; and €959,000 which includes €216,000 interest on an overdraft facility.

Since shutting down, Portelli had been seeking a government ‘bailout’ so that the health department rents out beds at the formerly private hospital to solve the state’s own problems of overcrowding at Mater Dei Hospital.

When the deal fell through in 2012, Portelli toyed with the prospect of suing the government for damages a year after the previous administration pulled out of an eight-year lease agreement at the last minute. The deal would have paved the way for the conversion of this private 100-bed hospital, which had closed down after running into financial difficulties, to be converted into a rehabilitation facility.

Portelli was accused by the previous administration of “negotiating in bad faith”, according to news reports.

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