By Lizzy Ioannidou
With the signing of the contracts between the Nicosia municipality and four consultants, the planning phase of the makeover of the old GSP stadium is due to start at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020.
One of the planning consultants, Grigoris Patsalosavvis, told media on Tuesday that if all goes as planned, the documents for the launching of the tender will be ready in six months.
The project is expected to transform the old GSP stadium premises, located near the finance and interior ministries, and in front of the new THOC theatre building, which now host a public parking space.
The final project will be able to host up to 18,000 people. Expected works include the construction of the largest public square in Nicosia, large green areas, a park, an outdoor amphitheatre, two cafeterias, two shops or kiosks, and an art gallery, while two underground levels will provide a total of 650 parking spaces.
The area which totals 13,500 square metres will be roughly divided into two sections, with one containing more green areas (around 30-40 per cent), and the other composed mainly of paving.
If construction costs remain at the calculated amounts, Patsalosavvis said, the project will cost around €15m, approximately one third of what the Eleftheria Square project has ended up costing.
Initial calculations set the old GSP project to cost a around €92m, which was later reduced to €48m, and finally further reduced to €15m through the reduction of underground parking spaces from 1,500 to 650.
For the construction of the project, the Nicosia municipality will be using funds amounting to €6m from funds allocated towards the purchasing of parking areas, while the rest will be granted by the state through the state budget of 2020 or 2021.
Construction works also initially included a 25-storey hotel, which aroused heated opposition from the public. Plans were then presented for the construction of a 70-room hotel, but with the onset of the financial crisis and the lack of interest from investors, the plans for a hotel were disregarded.
The first plan for the space’s makeover was drawn up in 1986, which included a large park area, a square for large public gatherings, and small shops.