Larnaca climbing development ladder

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Once lagging in urban development compared to the other cities, Larnaca is now at the forefront, argue stakeholders, pointing to key projects about to take off.

Talking to the Financial Mirror, the managing director of Ask-Wire, Pavlos Loizou, said that Larnaca had gone from being the lagger regarding development projects to the town with the greatest growth potential.

“Just a stroll in the town would be enough for someone to be convinced that Larnaca is changing, as several projects are already sprouting,” said Loizou.

“Larnaca is no longer the cheapest town for property, as its growth is also reflected in increased property prices which have been steadily rising.”

According to Ask Wire’s data, Larnaca stands out from the other districts, as sale values of apartments continued to rise for the fourth quarter in a row (3.1% in Q2 2022).

Quarterly rental values increased by 6.6% for apartments, 5% for houses, 0.5% for warehouses, and 1.6% for offices, and remained stable for retail.

As for holiday apartments and houses, rental values increased by 5.7% and 3.7%, respectively.

On an annual basis, rental values increased by 10.9% for apartments, 9.1% for houses, 8.0% for holiday apartments and 6.7% for holiday houses, and decreased by 3.3% for retail, 3.4% for warehouses and 2.6% for offices.

Loizou added that two mega-projects power Larnaca’s boom, the €1.2 bln revamp of the Larnaca marina and port and the beachfront development on the Larnaca-Dhekelia road.

The redevelopment of its marina and port is starting to shape, as the consortium awarded the contract, Kition Ocean Holdings, has launched works on April 1.

The town is also attracting new investments with upscale tourist projects destined on the Dhekelia coastal front, once occupied by fuel and gas storage tanks.

The largest property owner on Dhekelia road, Petrolina Holdings, is ready to explore project development such as holiday homes or a hotel.

CSE-listed Petrolina Holdings set up a subsidiary company, Petrolina Bayfront, acquiring three plots from ExxonMobil on the Larnaca-Dhekelia road.

After dismantling their fuel tanks, Petrolina acquired ExxonMobil’s properties through a €30 mln deal, which they plan to incorporate in their bayfront property development.

Loizou said that as Limassol prices continue to shoot upward as the city’s development reaches saturation, Larnaca is now catching the eye of foreign investors.

“We see increased interest from Lebanese and Israelis for property and offices in Larnaca.

“Since the crisis in Lebanon began a few years back, we have seen a steady flow of Lebanese nationals moving to Cyprus,” said Loizou.

He said that initially, Lebanese were heading for Nicosia due to the presence of a French school and Limassol as the life on the beachfront reminded them of home.

“However, with property prices being so expensive in Limassol, they are now heading for Larnaca.

“I myself wonder who will be able to afford to live in Limassol with prices so high.”

He added that while the flow of Lebanese to the island has slowed, Cyprus has seen an increase in Israelis eyeing a home.

Loizou said that Israelis are particularly interested in Larnaca properties, including housing units to be developed within the context of the marina redevelopment.

More hotels

The Larnaca Tourism Board stated that “the touristic developments under construction demonstrate that Larnaca has established itself as a very attractive investment destination in tourism and hospitality”.

New hotels will be added to its existing roster in the coming months.

In October, the Radisson Beach Resort Larnaca opened its doors to its first tourists.

The French hotel giant Accor Group has also chosen Larnaca to operate its first unit in Cyprus with the well-known Mercure brand, while it recently signed a management agreement with Solaar Hospitality.

The new unit is Mercure Beach Resort Larnaca and will be operational in April 2023 in Oroklini.

Local developers Quality Group and their partners will further enrich the town’s hotel map with four new hotels.

Two abandoned hotels in Pyla, the former Stavros Hotel, which will carry the Best Western brand, and the former Aris Hotel, will be completely upgraded and operate as first-class licensed apartments next summer.

And Quality group will create the first hotel in Cyprus to be run by robots, which will be located on Makarios Avenue, bearing the Holiday Inn Express chain seal.

Work on the project is expected to begin immediately.

By mid-2023, the construction of an ultra-luxury unit in Oroklini on 15,000 square meters will bear the name of a large foreign chain.

The Larnaca Tourism Board also reminded that developers NCH Capital will go ahead with four hotel projects in the district, which will cost close to €100 mln.

Three developments are located in Pyla and include the Troy Resort & Spa, the four-star Beau Rivage Hotel & Residences and the five-star Floating Scapes, a mixed tourism and housing project.