A green light was given by the Environmental Authority for the location of a new Jumbo store at the ex-Mazda showroom at Latsia, Nicosia, which will create problems.
The problem for the access to Nicosia from other towns via the motorway is real, with almost daily long queues of vehicles slowing down and waiting during peak hours that sometimes reach from Laiki/Kalispera traffic lights all the way back to Nissou.
Two years ago, I expressed my concerns about the Nicosia exit with traffic jams at the Mall of Cyprus/General Hospital junction, particularly with the then-expected sale of the Mazda building.
The presence of the mall, Ikea, Leroy Merlin, the hospital, plus the undeveloped Kalamon street [which, when developed, will double or triple the total of the above existing developments] is already causing traffic jams at one of the only two exits of Nicosia.
Now a new Jumbo department store to be located at the ex-Mazda building has been added, with a huge demand for parking and access facilities, which, with the retail space at 10,500 sqm, you can understand what will happen.
This store is indeed very successful, but the parking and access are another matter – a simple comparison of the same project at Lakatamia will discourage even the most ardent supporters of this location.
In contrast, the existence of parking spaces on the second floor for this new store is problematic.
How will visitors use it before and after shopping, especially with trolleys?
And all this without considering the holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, when there is a steep increase of visitors to all retail stores and malls.
The existing road network simply cannot handle this traffic load.
I expect heavy vehicular and other accidents due to this, especially at the two roundabouts of the mall and the hospital.
As a result, access, especially to the Latsia-Yeri-hospital area, will be very problematic, and I hope that the planners of the new infrastructure have taken this into account.
This expected traffic jam (similar to what happens daily at the Polemidia roundabout) will make it difficult for residents and other developments to visit the Latsia-Yeri-Laiki Lefkothea area and, in general, the areas of southern and eastern Nicosia.
Jumbo is a great business, and its affordable products serve the public well.
But we should also take into account the exit from Nicosia and what this construction (existing and future of the area) will cause.
The existence of the old Mazda facilities with the proposed development has nothing to do with what is expected with the completion of this project and the new buildings we have mentioned, doubling or even tripling traffic because for a visitor to get home from this area will be problematic.
Recently, a plot of land of around 11,000 sqm was sold next to the mall for €8 mln for commercial development expansion, which will certainly add to the traffic load.
There is no doubt that the new Nicosia bypass under construction will help alleviate the situation to some extent, while the undeveloped area of ”Lakkos tou Mikelli” has not yet been considered, as well as the area of Lemon Park and others.
I will follow the Environmental Authority’s decisions and determine whether they are correct, but after a year and a half, it will be too late for any corrective measures, unfortunately.
By Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. – Real Estate Appraiser & Project Manager