Mr. Thomas, how are the construction works proceeding and when is the project expected to be completed?
Construction of the Metropolis Mall is progressing well and we are targeting an opening date of 29 July 2021.
Did the pandemic affect your initial planning?
Due to the various restrictive measures and lockdowns as well as uncertainty over the past 13 months due to the pandemic, the timing of the project has been considerably affected. The Metropolis Mall was initially meant to be completed by November 2020, and we have now revised the opening date to 29 July 2021. The decision to delay the opening was unavoidable, and was taken to protect all our stakeholders, as we believe that by 29 July, majority of the population will have been vaccinated and the risk of further lockdowns and restrictions will have been minimized.
Despite the above, I am a firm believer that the Metropolis Mall will be a resounding success, due to its excellent location and accessibility, as well as the single-level design, tenant mix and emphasis on greenery and the family lifestyle.
Have the agreements with the tenants been completed? What new brands can we expect at the Metropolis Mall?
All the agreements with the major tenants have been finalized, and most of them have already commenced their fitout works a few months ago. As far as new brands that will open for the first time in Cyprus, we have secured a few including Kiabi, a French unisex fashion brand, Calliope, an Italian unisex fashion brand, Ximi Vogue, for accessories and gifting. The Metropolis Mall shall also have the largest Public shop on the island, which will sell everything from books, toys, technology, accessories, to a full range of household appliances. The Zara shall also be the largest and most impressive in Cyprus, designed in line with the latest 2021 concept.
We have also included a number of local shops and brands from Larnaca in our tenant mix, such as: Al Dente, Domenikos, Conelle, Ioannou Shoes, Izar, Milk & Honey, Accessories, as well as some other niche local brands, such as Ambiance Elements, and Hairspray.
How soon do you plan to recover the construction cost...
The size of the foreign direct investment is considerable and includes a significant amount invested on the road infrastructure. We have created three new roundabouts, as well as a new public road to ensure excellent access into and out of the mall from six different roads. The location of the mall also ensures excellent access to tourist market and the airport, as it is located on the main arterial roads that link Larnaca and the Airport, as well as the major bus routes.
During the construction phase, how many new jobs were created and how many people do you expect to work the the mall after its opening?
During construction phase, approximately 1,300 direct and indirect jobs were created. Once open, the Metropolis Mall shall have created approx. 1,000 direct jobs (people working at the mall), and approx. 500 indirect jobs (people that work in sectors supporting the shops and the mall)
How will Larnaca be affected from such large scale projects? What is their significance and spilover effect to the city?
The Metropolis Mall is a catalyst for future investment and development in Larnaca. Our investment in improving the road infrastructure, coupled with a significant payment from our company to the Larnaca Municipality for the improvement of the city, has already impacted the city positively. I am very confident that Larnaca will benefit from the Metropolis Mall, which is a catalyst for increased business and investment to the area, as can already be seen from a number of new developments that have already commenced in the vicinity of Metropolis Mall.
Our vision for the Metropolis Mall was to differentiate from the other malls in a number of ways, some of which include central location in the catchment market, excellent road access and convenience, single-level shopping mall, focus on families and the community (we have incorporated water fountains, children play equipment, walking and cycling paths), incorporation of greenery into the mall design (we have planted approximately 350 trees and plants).
Metropolis Mall will prevent the outflow of significant consumer spending, which up to now was being directed to Nicosia and Limassol, due to a lack of conclusive retail offering in Larnaca. Apart from this, the Mall will bring in new consumer spending from the surrounding villages and cities, such as Parlimni, Protaras, Agia Napa, as well as the villages between Nicosia and Larnaca. I believe that Larnaca has very positive prospects and over the next 10 years, it will change considerably, as a number of large-scale projects are taking place which will ensure that Larnaca has much more to offer both for the local residents and for tourists.