Lar­naca’s first su­per mall to cre­ate 1400 jobs

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS -

A South African in­vestor plan­ning to build Lar­naca’s first shop­ping mall has ac­cepted the terms set by the Lar­naca mu­nic­i­pal­ity and is now push­ing for red tape pro­ce­dures to be fast-tracked for multi-mil­lion pro­ject.

Town Plan­ning has given the green light and is now await­ing some ad­di­tional doc­u­ments from the South African com­pany Ac­sion Ltd to pro­ceed with the is­suance of the build­ing per­mit.

Con­struc­tion of Me­trop­o­lis Mall, es­ti­mated to cost some EUR 60 mln, is ex­pected to start at the be­gin­ning of 2019 and to be com­pleted within 18 months.

While Lar­naca mu­nic­i­pal­ity has al­ready pock­eted some 100,000 eu­ros from the var­i­ous li­censes, an­other EUR 2 mln is ex­pected to find its way to mu­nic­i­pal­ity cof­fers as part of the deal with the South African de­vel­oper.

The money will be given as a form of com­pen­sa­tion by Ac­sion and it is to be used to re­vi­talise the town’s com­mer­cial cen­tre. Lar­naca Mayor An­dreas Vyras told the Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror that while the pro­ject will ben­e­fit Lar­naca, the town’s com­mer­cial heart will, to some ex­tent, be neg­a­tively af­fected as stud­ies have shown.

Me­trop­o­lis Mall, is to be built by the South African com­pany on land be­long­ing to the Church, cov­er­ing an area of 33,000 sq.m, lo­cated be­hind the town’s mil­i­tary train­ing camp (KEN) and op­po­site the park­ing lot of the new GSZ Sta­dium.

The mall is to host over 100 stores, a su­per­mar­ket, a cinema, play­grounds as well as ac­com­mo­date 1415 park­ing spa­ces.

The pro­ject is ex­pected to at­tract thou­sands of lo­cals and res­i­dents from sur­round­ing vil­lages, while as cal­cu­lated by the in­vestors, some 750 peo­ple will be em­ployed dur­ing the con­struc­tion phase of the pro­ject, and 1,400 po­si­tions will be created in stores to open within the mall.

De­spite ben­e­fits created from the new mall for the town of Lar­naca, the pro­ject does not come with­out its chal­lenges for the area.

In ear­lier com­ments to the Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror, re­gard­ing ef­fects the pro­ject is to have on the town cen­tre, Vyras said that it is ex­pected to also present a chal­lenge for lo­cal author­i­ties.

“In­vest­ments of this size al­ways bring along pos­i­tive ef­fects, such as job op­por­tu­ni­ties and add value to the area. How­ever, they do come with some chal­lenges that we need to ad­dress. Such a big mall will of course put stress on lo­cal small to medium busi­nesses,” said Vyras.

He said that mu­nic­i­pal author­i­ties will do all that they can to min­imise the im­pact on lo­cal shop­keep­ers.

Vyras said that de­spite the chal­lenges it presents, the Me­trop­o­lis Mall has a role to play in the over­all devel­op­ment of the town.

Apart from the Mall, the town is set to see sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment in al­most all ar­eas of life. While Lar­naca is wait­ing for the Is­raeli con­sor­tium com­posed of Ampa Ltd and Is­rael Ship­yards Ltd to sub­mit its fi­nal fi­nan­cial pro­posal for devel­op­ment of the town’s port and Ma­rina, a se­ries of other projects are in the pipe­line.

The port pro­ject en­vis­ages a 1,000-berth ma­rina and port in­volv­ing a devel­op­ment of up to 510,000 square me­tres but the Is­raeli in­vestors are un­happy about the terms of the deal for a multi-com­plex site.

The con­sor­tium is ex­pected to sub­mit its fi­nal pro­posal in mid-Novem­ber once an is­sue re­gard­ing bank guar­an­tees is sur­passed.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity also has four projects worth EUR 13 mln which have be­gun or are to set to com­mence.

Vyras said that a to­tal of 12 ho­tels are ei­ther be­ing built or in the process of ac­quir­ing the nec­es­sary li­censes.

Two of the ho­tels are to be built in the pop­u­lar McKen­zie area, while a five-star ho­tel is to be built on the Phinikoudes seafront by a Rus­sian in­vestor.

While the Mayor said the Town Hall is look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity of ap­prov­ing lux­ury high ris­ers, Lar­naca re­cently saw the open­ing of its first busi­ness-fo­cused ho­tel – the Radis­son Blu.

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