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Busy afternoon at the opening of The Mall of Cyprus September 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Cyprus, Business & Economy, Cyprus News, Shopping.
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Cyprus’ new mega-mall in Nicosia officially opened > Thousands of people flocked to the new Mall of Cyprus, but their arrival at the giant complex was marred by dire traffic congestion and a protest.

The opening mall took place with a side-show demonstration from the Green Party, who camped outside the mall to protest the impact the development was having on access to the new Nicosia General Hospital across the street.

Traffic police turned up in force to shepherd the long queues of cars waiting to get a glimpse of the new premises and traffic problems, first witnessed when the adjacent IKEA complex was opened around a month ago, still remained very much apparent.

Special guests at the mall’s opening included Justice Minister Sophocles Sophocleous, DISY Deputy Averoff Neophytou and his new bride, Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, the Ambassadors and Consulates of Denmark, Slovenia and France, British High Commissioner Peter Millet, former Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zampelas and the Mall’s tycoon owner Nicos Shacolas.

In the background, the police orchestra played various ensembles and more bizarrely the title tune from the boxing film Rocky, which blared out as the Ministers and Ambassadors mingled with each other just outside the entrance.

The new mall is made up of 31 small and large shops, ten coffee shops and restaurants and a five-screen cinema complex. Large name brands include Debenhams, Zara, Carrefour, Public, Intersport, Oviesse, Cortefiel, Du Pareil Au Meme, Oysho, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Next, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and the Early Learning Centre. The mall will also include a Volta Fun Park for children and a hairdressing salon.

When the waiting customers did eventually manage to get into the new mall, most were not disappointed by the sheer size and options at hand. One customer took over an hour to get to the mall, in what was usually a ten-minute drive for him to get to the area. He said that despite being awed by what he saw, the traffic problem was an issue that could very soon put him off the approach altogether if it is not sorted out soon.

“I think the mall is great, this is certainly the first of its kind in Cyprus but the problem with the traffic still remains”, the customer said, who was at the mall with his wife and two small children. He added, “This is what happens when you don’t take of these issues before. I suppose the question remains as to how the traffic problems will affect the businesses in the mall. I haven’t been put off yet but I certainly won’t be compelled to coming here often if the traffic problem isn’t fixed.”

Others were more angered by the traffic problems, with around 15 environmentalists staging a small rally outside the entrance. “We are protesting against the thoughtless traffic problems that are causing so many problems to the new General Hospital”, Green Party Deputy Giorgos Perdikis said. “The ones responsible for this unacceptable situation are the town planning administration and, of course, the state. They should never have allowed the situation to get to where it is. We are calling for measures to be taken immediately because these problems are causing great delays to the public and are also endangering the lives of others.”

Perdikis also said that his party was also outraged by government plans to build a new road that would cut through Athalassa park as a means to ease the traffic congestion leading to and from the complex. “Cutting through the park of Athalassa should not be an option,” he added.

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