DESPITE recent reports that funding problems were delaying the start of work at the Limassol marina, the company set up specifically to deliver the project is confident that the process will run smoothly.
Being the most ambitious project underway in Cyprus, Limassol Marina is expected to be one of the government’s priorities as a measure of dealing with the financial crisis.
“We are very optimistic after such statements that the pace of implementing procedural, financial and technical loose ends will be speedy, to allow the start of works,” said Nikiforos Bambakas, the spokesman for Limassol Marina Ltd.
However, Bambakas clarified that due to the grand scale and complexity of the project, a complicated and time-consuming procedure must be followed before work can begin. “This is an unprecedented project for Cyprus and internationally. It is a large scale project implemented in a contemporary and new model of development. Because of its size and complex characteristics, there is a complicated process that must be followed,” he said.
“At present we are at the licensing stage, as the town planning approvals are moving on and we can then enter the stage of a comprehensive architectural planning, including funding and design,” he added.
Reports this week suggested the project was being delayed because two banks that initially showed interest in providing the funding were now backing off and asking for additional guarantees and higher interest rates. The total cost for the project amounts to €170 million.
Bambakas, however, said the funding from banks would be given after all the necessary licenses were granted, which has not happened yet. “In order to ensure bank funding we must have all town planning consents in order, but this is just part of the process and we are confident it will be resolved soon,” he said.
The project, characterised as the biggest tourist infrastructure work in Limassol, is expected to boost the town’s tourist sector by attracting quality visitors. Limassol Marina will be located on the west of the Old Port, taking over the entire seaside area from the old to the New Port. It will accommodate up to 1000 vessels and will offer a range of services including dining, residential, shopping and conference space. A green park will surround the marina, while all buildings within it will adhere to old Limassol’s traditional architecture standards.
The marina will be constructed and managed by the Built Operate and Transfer (BOT) method which involves a strategic investor building and managing a project for a number of years, and then transferring it back to the state. In this case, the strategic investor will execute the plan and manage the marina for 53 years, and retain profit rights for 37 additional years.
Limassol Marina Ltd comprises J&P Avax A.E., Cybargo PLC, Fraggoudi & Stefanou, Ioannou & Paraskevaidi, Athena ATE, Cads, Holding Ltd and the Limassol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEL) through the Limassol Marina Development Company.
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