Interior minister Socratis Hasikos said on Tuesday the management of the old GSP stadium will be handed over to the Nicosia municipality to oversee its redevelopment.
Hasikos, who had a meeting with Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis and the municipal council, to discuss the matter said the redevelopment is expected to cost €15m.
“The mayor has asked and he has received, not for himself but for his town. He has brought us a very convincing proposal,” Hasikos said.
He added that the municipality has already received €6m for the project and has pledged to secure €3m more, while the rest will be paid by the government.
“We have agreed for the old GSP stadium to be given to the municipality, aiming for the construction of an underground car park and a park, as per the referendum request of Nicosia residents,” Yiorkadjis said.
The project is expected to begin in 18 months to two years’ time, he said, while in the meantime, the architectural designs will be completed and the municipality will announce the tender competition.
In 2008, members of the public participated in the first ever municipal referendum – on the initiative of the then mayor Eleni Mavrou – to vote on how they would like to see the stadium developed and submit their own proposals. According to the results, residents said they wanted an open, green area with few buildings and easy access to pedestrians instead of cars.
The old stadium was built in 1902 by the Pancyprian Gymnastic Association and had a capacity of 12,000. It was used until the early 1990s until the Makarios athletic centre and later on the new GSP stadium outside Nicosia was built. The Gymnastics Association ceded it to the government, and it has since 1991 remained a dusty parking lot.
The Nicosia municipality said that after the space is given to them, they would proceed with the production of architectural plans, in cooperation with the project’s architect, chosen following an earlier competition based on the referendum results.
The project, the municipality said, will also include an amphitheatre, and will have “other uses to attract members of the public”.