Cyprus Mail

Eleftheria Square project grinds to a halt

By Constantinos Psillides

WORK on revamping Eleftheria Square will stop until further notice as a result of two court orders secured yesterday by project contractor Miltiades Neophytou.

The injunction orders concern a disagreement over the sum of €4.7 million, disputed between the contractor and Nicosia municipality.

The construction company is now locked in a legal fight with the municipality, blaming them for the delay in completion of the project.

The new and improved Eleftheria Square was supposed to be completed by September 2014, a year after the original deadline set in the initial agreement.

Asked to comment, Nicosia mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said that it’s the contactor’s right to take legal action, adding that the matter will now be resolved in court.

Yiorkadjis said the contractor chose to withdraw from a friendly settlement negotiation between the two parties.

Stavros Aletras, contracts manager for the contractor told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the company “does not wish to enter into a public debate with the municipality through the media”.

Reports surfaced last week that relations between the contractor and municipality were strained over delays in finishing the project and subsequent costs, with both sides deflecting blame.

In response to the initial report, Yiorkadjis restricted his comments to saying that completion of Eleftheria Square was “of paramount importance”.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail last week, sources within the municipality described the then negotiations with the contractor as very delicate. The local authority’s aim was to resolve the issue as quickly and quietly as possible, and complete the project without further delay.

The design of the remodelled Eleftheria Square was created by Iraqi born architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman to ever be awarded with the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Miltiadis Neophytou was recently in the media spotlight over a separate issue when he threatened to sue former President Demetris Christofias, claiming that he was not paid for work done on the latter’s houses in Nicosia and Kellaki village. Neophytou demanded a sum of around €600,000. The former president responded saying that Neophytou had refused payment for the work, expressing his disappointment that “an old friend turned on me”.

The contractor was awarded the tender on various government projects, including the addition of extra lanes to the Nicosia highway, the construction of a roundabout next to GSP stadium and the building of new headquarters for the Town Planning and Housing Department.

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