NEW and existing owners of businesses in Nicosia city centre have been offered a series of financial incentives to help rejuvenate the area and attract new investments.
Nicosia mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis announced the municipality’s new scheme – Recovery Plan for the Urban Centre – on Monday, saying the six-month plan was “expected to rekindle business interest”.
“By utilising the financial incentives provided by the Nicosia municipality, the new and existing businesses who decide to seize this unique opportunity will have multiple benefits,” Yiorkadjis said.
The incentives include exemption from the obligatory purchase of customer parking spaces, usually a requirement for new businesses. They also include exemption for two years from the municipal rubbish collection tax, the professional licence fee and the business establishment licence fee.
For a business owner to be eligible they must pay a maximum rent of €15 per square metre and they must have a two-year lease contract with an optional two-year extension. The shops must not operate as kiosks, bakeries, supermarkets or betting shops.
“We want the capital to have a modern and attractive city centre that will be a point of reference and a meeting point, serve the needs of our fellow residents and of every foreign visitor and be full of life. We are confident that we can win this bet,” Yiorkadjis said.
He added that today 30 per cent of city centre shops are vacant, which he said was down to the new commercial zones created outside the city centre, high real estate rents and the economic crisis.
“We have tried to reverse this disappointing image by taking measures,” Yiorkadjis said.
The municipality has also launched a €28.8m project for the total redevelopment of commercial streets to upgrade the “commercial triangle”. Plans concern the drastic reconstruction of the city’s declining commercial centre, Makarios Avenue and its adjacent streets.
The area is envisioned as a pedestrian paradise, with dedicated bus routes and bicycle lanes leading in the hope that issues of accessibility, traffic congestion and pollution may be tackled.
The deadline for the tender competition for the first phase of reconstruction – out of a total three – involving Stasikratous and the minor streets connecting it with Makarios ended recently.
Nicosia municipality has also persuaded the government to house some government offices in the centre. A Citizen Service Centre will soon be opening on Makarios Avenue.
The municipality has claimed the redevelopment of the old GSP stadium from the interior ministry and a new archaeological museum the mayor said. The municipality has asked permission from the interior ministry to allow them to manage the GSP stadium with the aim of turning it into a park with an underground car park.
Application deadline for the Recovery Plan of the Urban Centre is March 31, 2017. For more information, call the Nicosia municipality’s Citizen Service and Information Bureau at 22 797007.
The scheme covers businesses on part of Makarios Avenue, Stasikratous Street, Evagoras Avenue, the Anastasios Leventis, part of Mnasiadou, Princess Zena de Tyras, Theofanou Theodotou, Arnaldas, Aphroditis, Stassandrou, Ayia Eleni, Gregorios Xenopoulos, Bouboulinas, Iras and Annis Komninis streets.