€30 mln revamp for Old Nicosia

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Old Nicosia is in for a makeover, as the Interior Ministry plans to revitalise the area, including grants to boost business activity, student accommodation, town planning incentives and housing arrangements.

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said €30 mln is earmarked to revitalise the old town, strengthening its socio-economical structure.

“The multicultural character of Nicosia requires the creation of a living community within the walls, highlighting and strengthening its historical character, but also its modern European identity,” said Ioannou.

“We aspire to transform the historic centre into a modern place of business and economic activity, to ensure that existing residents stay, and to attract new ones, achieving its revival.

“The ambition is to highlight the region’s unique historical and architectural character as an integral part of Cyprus’ history and culture”.

The previous government had started efforts to breathe new life into the old, abandoned town.

“The focus will be on issues such as the increased traffic in the town within the walls, the creation of new jobs and the improvement of the built environment by contributing to a circular economy and green growth”.

Ioannou said implementation of Local Government reform, the integrated strategy, will improve the residents’ quality of life and strengthen Nicosia’s competitiveness, offering visitors a unique visit experience.

“We now know that multi-level planning, which is infrastructure creation combined with incentives, has a positive impact and is a catalyst for bringing buildings back to life.

“We had to intervene so that the image of abandonment and desolation, a result of the invasion and decades-long division of the city, is left in the past, and so we can look to the future with greater optimism and confidence”.

Laying out the government’s blueprint, Ioannou said the first scheme concerns grants to strengthen business activity within the walled city of Nicosia.

Some €10 mln from the state budget will be allocated until December 31, 2026.

According to the plan, 60% of the eligible costs for relocating or setting up a business in the area are subsidised with a maximum of €80,000 per project.

Beneficiaries are those who exercise a desired economic activity in the areas where the plan applies.

Special emphasis is given to business activities for youth, students or young professionals that do not exist in the designated area. Cafes and restaurants are excluded.

A second scheme has a budget of €15 mln, funded through the Recovery and Resilience Plan, allocated to grants to build or create student accommodation.

The third action plan concerns housing in the walled city of Nicosia, which was implemented in March 2023 with a budget of €5 mln.