By George Psyllides
THE Nicosia municipality’s priority is to revamp the former commercial centre outside the walls, Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said on Friday, pledging that Eleftheria Square, now a huge hole in the middle of the capital, will also be completed.
“We consider the revamp of this commercial triangle a priority, not just for Nicosia, but also the state,” Yiorkadjis said of Makarios Avenue, and Stasikratous and Evagorou Streets.
The mayor said the aim was to complete the project concerning the commercial triangle between 2014 and 2020 with the use of EU funds.
The downfall of the commercial triangle started with the advent of malls. The final nail in the coffin came with the economic crisis.
The area is now full of empty shops as the focus shifted to the old town, which has bucked the trend but had gone from being rundown to what critics describe as full commercialisation.
Despite the rapid change a lot still needs to be done in the old town, including completion of the main square — now a massive hole — that used to lie at the south entrance.
Construction has been abandoned after repeated delays drove building costs up and led to a legal dispute between the contractor and the municipality. It was meant to finish last year.
The municipality is trying to hire a new company to complete the project by December 15, 2015 or lose €25.5m in EU funding.
The €30m project is 85 per cent funded by the EU, which has already granted a two-year extension to the municipality.