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Revamping Nicosia centre deserves praise

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The extensive and impressive infrastructural works that are now taking place in central Nicosia is a job worthy of every cent spent.

The near completion of Eleftheria Square, completion of the Moat parking area, and the triangle of Stassikratous, Makariou and the old GSP ground are noticeable.

The Municipality is going all out to implement the various road widening schemes, the construction of “modern” pavements (with due care for the disabled) and on-street parking.

In the upgrading of the capital, the private sector played an important role.

The Leventis Gallery, Dakis project, as well as the construction of three boutique hotels (and the reconstruction of the ex-Holiday Inn) are positive contributions.

As are the residential projects of Cyfield (360°), Park View, as well as the multi-storey office blocks (some of which are coming from Israeli investors).

Deloitte and Eurobank H.Q. buildings are a positive consideration for the future, as is the much-expected redevelopment of ex-Hilton Hotel (Landmark) with the development of apartment buildings and offices.

Of course, there remain the accessibility and parking problems within the central area.

Parking and accessibility are major issues for towns all over Europe, it is strange for us to examine the various proposals regarding the construction of a “tram” system since the existing public transport is not viable.

Save the virus/tourist situation, Nicosia has become very popular for the Airbnb lets with occupancy rates reaching 80%, whereas policing the old city is problematic, to say the least.

In our opinion, both of Nicosia’s top clubs APOEL and Omonia should be relocated outside the central area in out-of-town locations.

Regrettably, we do not have Margaret Thatcher to handle this state of affairs (hooligans) and for this, we suggest that both clubs should do an exchange for Government land or buy themselves other land to relocate.

Coming back to policing, this is partly due to the lack of police officers with its members being drained for protecting just about everybody in politics.

Nicosia centre has problems on the horizon, that of the planned location of a couple of Ministries/offices in the ex-Ministry of Interior site, which will increase the traffic problem by at least 20% during the rush hour (just as well the new Parliament in the Nicosia centre has been cancelled).

The various private and public projects apart, there are plans to increase the leisure and green space within the centre.

So new road schemes are duly planted with trees, whereas the linear park of Pedieos river and that of Kaimakli have shown the attraction of such parks for sports, as well as family bonding.

These park projects have done wonders for the local neighbourhoods, properties facing them are in high demand for sale/let.

Of course, the capital’s priority should be the construction of the Cyprus Museum, in the ex-Nicosia hospital site.

Although such an important project does not attract votes it will be a major attraction for Nicosia visitors, especially if it manages to attract foreign antiquities temporarily (imagine if we get clay Chinese soldiers or Egyptian antiquities).

We have provided over the years our proposals to make Nicosia more attractive for visitors which includes:

  • The use of electric cars staffed by the now unemployed tourist guides with a capacity of 4-6 people, which can be navigated in the narrow streets of the walled city and provide easy access to the various small museums (approximately 10).
  • The use of the old GSP stadium for which we have proposed an entertainment park (using the private sector, save the construction of the underground parking), e.g. ground floor shops of around 100 sqm each to be used with specific use set around a square.
  • The immediate renovation of the ex-Hilton Hotel (Landmark) and construction of an escalator connecting the Moat parking to that of the old town.

It is our opinion that the Nicosia Mayor has done a lot of good work (with the help of his council), we feel that he has not been treated fairly, getting the blame for just about everything that goes wrong.

Small politics regrettably play their role, this is not unique for Cyprus.

There are all sorts of Mayors in Cyprus, we have reported on the local Mafia style of administration that exists in the small seaside Municipalities.

The main towns, however (save that of Larnaca) have not experienced this Mafia behaviour.