President Nicos Anastasiades has inaugurated one of the most ambitious new projects on the island that aims to place Cyprus back on the international map of premium leisure and tourist destinations.
The 650-berth Limassol Marina could be considered one of the few success stories of build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects, where a consortium headed by the Lanitis Group invested more than €300 mln in a derelict state land next to the old port that has been transformed into a jewel for the entire Mediterranean.
After the initial government tenders for a two-phase 80-year lease were issued in 2002 and the winning bidders started work, the site has given a fresh lease of life to the port city that has attracted manufacturing retail and shipping businesses from around the world, creating a multinational community of entrepreneurs an jet-setters.
“This is a unique project that enhances the competitiveness of the Cyprus economy, improves the island’s image, creating new job opportunities in and around the heart of Limassol,” said consortium chairman Marios Lanitis, with property sales already reaching some €130 mln.
“But our experiences all these years shows there is a need for a better legal infrastructure and an effective ‘one-stop-shop’ by the government in order to attract similar investments,” Lanitis said.
Inaugurating the marina www.limassolmarina.com/ , that also includes about 450 seafront villas and apartments, President Anastasiades said that “the vision, dedication, hard work and perseverance of all those involved in this magnificent venture comprise the recipe for success for all progressive-minded enterprises in our country.”
“This is the most precious guide for Cypriot entrepreneurship,” he said, adding “that in such a difficult time for our economy is trying to face all the changes ahead of us and bring Cyprus back to a road of growth and prosperity.”
“This is a jewel for Limassol, a turning point for Cyprus that has changed the face of the town. It combines luxury living on the sea with direct berthing for boats from 8-metres to 115-metre superyachts,” Anastasiades said, explaining that the state, too, is happy, as it has so far collected €100 mln from leases and direct and indirect taxes, while at the same time creating 800 jobs in the construction and marine management sectors.
The president then expressed his admiration to the visionaries who comprise the consortium, namely the Lanitis Group’s construction arm Cybarco, the Joannou & Paraskevaides Group’s J&P-Avax and Athena, the Francoudi & Stephanou Group, as well as CADS and LMDC.
Following on Marios Lanitis’ comments on a need for a ‘one-stop-shop’ philosophy, President Anastasiades said that the government is going ahead with plans to develop other large-scale projects such as hotel resorts and casinos, golf courses and other developments, while also attracting non-EU investors who will benefit from long-term residency or even Cyprus citizenship.
He added that in the past year his administration has set a priority to ease investments by the private sector and to offer speedy services and less bureaucracy.
“We cannot have a revival in our economy and growth through the red tape we all know so well, that slow down and even undermine the economy and society as a whole.
The venture, that is next to the Old Port that has been tendered to a new operator on a 20-year lease, is also a stone’s throw away from Limassol castle and recently rejuvenated tourist area. It also includes yacht sales and maintenance services, parking for 750 cars, shops and a host of cafés and restaurants such as the Pyxida fish tavern, the PHC Group-operated Wagamama, TGI Friday’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Derlicious, Caffé Nero, Hobo Mediterraneo, Marina Cool Bar, Café Calma, and the Yacht Club Crystal Marina Lounge of the Breeze Group. New outlets by Carob Mill Restaurants are also expected to open soon.
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