The former municipal market in old Nicosia is to be refurbished at a cost of €4.92m plus VAT and operate as a research and innovation centre.

The contract to renovate the old building was signed by the municipality and Lois Builders on Tuesday and paves the way for a state-of-the art home for some of the operations of CYENS – a research centre focusing on interactive media, smart systems and emerging technologies.

Nicosia Municipality said the project is a priority in its strategy on sustainable urban development to promote research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Once completed, the building will house labs and app exhibition areas, shared working areas, seminar facilities, a multimedia studio and a fabrication lab among other things.

CYENS (former RISE) already operates in Nicosia within the walls. Next month it is expected to relocate to the renovated Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub building (former Stoa) at Municipality Square.

The former municipal market and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub building will serve as the core of the ‘Creative Industry Quarter’ project which is already underway and is expected to add momentum to creating a competitive and outward looking knowledge economy and to promoting the capital more generally as a regional hub of creativity, growth and business innovation, benefitting all of Cyprus, it added.

The joint venture is coordinated by Nicosia Municipality and brings together two renowned international partners, Germany’s Max Planck Institute and the UK’s University College London with Cyprus’ three state universities – the University of Cyprus, Tepak (Cyprus’ University of Technology) and the open University of Cyprus.