By Peter Stevenson
FEASIBILITY studies are underway in an attempt to keep the development of the Larnaca port and marina project on track with private consortium Zenon looking abroad for investment, according to the head of Larnaca’s chamber of commerce Othonas Theodoulou.
Following two years of negotiations, the government signed an agreement with Zenon last year for the development of the Larnaca port and marina worth around €700 million.
“When the deal was signed there had been healthy competition and various research into the project’s sustainability had been carried out but things flipped on their head in March,” said Theodoulou.
Zenon have been in search of foreign investment for their project as local banks which were set to bankroll the development have pulled back.
“One Russian bank and one private foreign investor are possible suitors,” Theodoulou revealed.
A meeting will take place next week with Communications Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos to see if an extension will be granted to Zenon, as construction was due to have begun at the end of this month.
“We are reservedly optimistic that the project will go ahead and although I cannot reveal the details, we are currently cooperating with the municipalities and other parties which are related to the project to find some form of solution by the end of the month,” he said.
The port and marina development was to begin with an initial enlargement of the marina to provide facilities to accommodate cruise passengers.
The project’s master plan aimed to minimise the initial investment by keeping most of the existing facilities and to optimise the cruise operation by building an off-shore jetty and a functional cruise terminal building.
Development of the port includes the extension, modernisation and operation for 35 years of the existing port with two major components. The first is a cruise harbour with a new cruise terminal and an offshore mooring jetty and the second is a commercial port to accommodate local traffic.
The marina development would include the extension of the present marina to house 500 berths, later catering for 700 berths and then 900 berths.
The Larnaca marina commercial and leisure development will cover 10,000 square metres.
“The waterfront will offer a unique shopping and entertainment experience for Cypriots and any visitor, marina users or cruise passengers or tourists,” a Zenon
To distinguish the development from all others on the island it will ‘go green’ and use sustainable environmental practices, Zenon said.
“Through exquisite design practices and extraordinary energy efficiency the Larnaca
Marina will exemplify the term ‘Sustainable Living’,” the statement added.
Larnaca also benefits from a nearby international airport which is useful for cruise turn-around but also for foreign boat owners, the statement added. The port and marina are located in the city centre which is especially important for cruise crew.
“Cyprus also has two billion people living within a four-hour flight distance,” the statement added.