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The Casino is here

9 July 2017

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Cyprus Beach

A casino dear readers “never loses” and there are always players of all sorts who do not particularly care about the charges and by projection, we hope, do not pay particular attention to the property prices to be in the immediate region.

The casino is here dear readers and the location is Zakaki village on the western outskirts of Limassol. These western outskirts together with the adjoining Asomatos and other immediate villages, have been so far considered to be the lowest income group residential area of the town.

The project as it has been announced will comprise of a 5-star (plus) hotel of 500- bedroom capacity (the largest in Cyprus) plus a conference area of around 6.000 sq.mts., plus the other facilities to go. The lack of such a large conference hall so far will not only supplement the casino activities, but it will also find Limassol with a commercial hall capable of accommodating very large international conferences and events. In addition (hopefully it happens) the Lanitis group has obtained a licence to build an international 18-hole golf course and villas for sale next door to the casino. So, it is indeed, as a whole a project, similar to that of Las Vegas to be runned by an international casino operator with a wealth of experience and qualified staff to make it a success.

There is plenty of vacant development land and building plots to accommodate any increase in demand expected mainly to support the casino completion (2020). Is it then the time to invest in such plots in order to cash in on the expected demand that will follow? At this point of time land cost in the immediate area is around €200-€220/sq.m. (even less0 which is capable for apartment and individual housing development. Bearing in mind the new connection with China and the keen gamblers that the Arabs/Israelis have for casino playing, as well as the visa/passports, the parameters for such a development is evident. Perhaps it is the time also to contact the casino operator to provide staff accommodation (estimated 4.000 on spot working) in a development and lease deal. Bearing in mind the Limassol towers/seaside projects now selling at €7.000-€8.000/sq.m. (not on the beach) we expect local sales prices in this area will be much higher than the prevailing ones for apartments (€1.200/sq.m.) and houses in individual ½ plot (€2.000/sq.m.). In addition to the immediate area, locations such as Erimi, Kolossi villages which are nearby with a large volume of supply, are also expected to be benefited. This will of course help the Mall (My Mall) and the various restaurants in the neighbourhood.

So one project (casino) will turn around a depressed area of the town into a medium class one, but it will take some time to realise it (say by the year 2025) in order to realise the beneficial effects of the casino post operation, by which time we expect an increase in sales prices by at least 20%-30% over the next 3-4 years. The location has certain disadvantages however which must be noted. The never ending flies problem is an issue that must be addressed since it will only take a few reports to give the project a bad name, as well as its non good direct access. Although roadworks are under way connecting the Limassol-Nicosia motorway with the wider area, we are not aware of any infrastructural plans leading directly to the project site. Also, part of the villages described, fall within the S.B.A. for which sales of real estate is subject to various restrictions (basically limiting the disposal to locals) and this is an issue to be examined, with the S.B.A. authorities. The immediate neighbourhood is known for its illegal grumbling. Surely the casino operator has the know how and experience to handle such events and much of it will depend on the capability of the local police (however if we look back on recent events where there was a close “cooperation” between criminals and the police this is not encouraging).

The casino is expected to have an upgraded food court and we understand that some of the restaurants may have a Michelin star quality. This is of course good news since in Cyprus we do not have this standard so far. Yes, they are pricy but there you are, readers of this column to inform us that it is also worth the experience and units of such a nature have a waiting list to accept customers running to several weeks of waiting (London mind you). Regarding the prices of such establishments, it does not appear to be a problem particularly. If we compare Mykonos as an example, the average good quality restaurants charge around €150 per person choosing the lowest price local wine (€35/bottle), but can reach on a restaurant based on the wine list up to €11.000/bottle) but yet fully booked, whereas the charges of the old port in Limassol are around €100 per person. So why not a charge of €300 p.p. for a Michelin Ora? It seems that based on our own experience so far there are (mainly foreign) people who are prepared to venture in such a luxury, being an attraction for visitors by themselves (a reader of this column who was kind enough to provide us such charges abroad, having criticised us for setting out the high rentals for the old port which we have set on behalf of the Port Authority that we are to blame for the high charges) – Yet an ordinary shrimp cost €7.0/each (a souglakia pitta €10/each) the restaurants are doing very well – so there is room for further “improvement” in charges which is in sight.

A casino dear readers “never loses” and there are always players of all sorts who do not particularly care about the charges and by projection, we hope, do not pay particular attention to the property prices to be in the immediate region.

Good luck to Cyprus and of course to Limassol (again).

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