Following a series of disagreements and legal disputes that led to the Eleftheria Square revamp construction project coming to a halt Nicosia municipality and the project’s contractor Miltiades Neophytou officially parted company on Tuesday.
Both parties announced they had reached an amicable agreement and that their collaboration to complete the Eleftheria square revamp project will be called off. The construction also involved redevelopment of the surrounding area including the underground parking on Omirou Avenue.
The signing of the agreement ending the collaboration cost the municipality the amount of €530,000 paid to the contractor.
With the signing, the contractor has agreed to withdraw all pending lawsuits against Nicosia municipality.
“The project that involves redevelopment of the Eleftheria Square is a multi-dimensional project in the city centre, in a space that is perhaps the city’s most important historical monument, the Venetian walls,” said the joint announcement.
It said that the way in which the contract was designed did not create the conditions for a smooth implementation of the project and this led to time-consuming legal disputes.
It was therefore decided that the collaboration be terminated since disagreements caused delays but also the work was running the risk of losing EU funding. The project was put at risk when contractor Miltiades Neophytou requested an extension of 552 days and an additional compensation of €3 million, after the municipality had deducted €200,000 per month from the sum agreed, due to delays in completing the project, as per contract.
Construction work was initially re-scheduled for completion by September, approximately 18 months after the agreed date, but there will be more delays. Nicosia town hall said it will announce tenders for the project in the next few days for the project to be completed within the timeframe determined by EU funding.
The tendering process is estimated to take about five months to complete with the new contractor to start work two months later.
The project is estimated to be completed in about 12 months after that. Miltiades Neophytou had asked for an extension until the summer to submit the first phase of the project, and an extension until summer 2015 for the completion of the whole project.
Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said completion of the project is necessary as it will significantly contribute towards economic development of the capital.
The project is among the EU co-funded projects and had to be completed within the period 2007-2013. However, the EU has given a two-year extension to member states who implement such projects.
The project is expected to cost a total of about €30 million, with 85% funded by the European Regional Development Fund (Epta).