Α. Hadjimitsis: My Mall’s expansion and the two new malls - "We mustn’t drown Limassol in traffic”
Marios Ioannou 11:22 - 18 January 2024
Plans to expand My Mall Limassol, the huge problem of staff shortages in the retail sector but also his views on the two new malls that are expected to open in already-congested parts of Limassol are just some of the topics the mall’s CEO and founder, Andreas Hadjimitsis, touches on in an interview with InBusinessNews.
Hadjimitsis, who is also the vice president of the Cyprus Association of Retail Trade Enterprises, said that despite the various shocks in retail trade, Limassol’s mall recorded increased traffic and turnover last year.
Big expansion of My Mall
The procedures to submit applications to the competent authorities to obtain planning permission for the expansion and renovation of My Mall are in full swing.
The aim, said Hadjimitsis, is to secure the necessary permits in the first half of 2024, so that the newly-renovated mall can start welcoming visitors in the second half of 2025.
The renovation will require a €45m investment and will see the mall expanded by 10,000 sq. m., with the addition of a residential complex spanning another 10,000 sq. m.
Zakaki is booming, brands show interest in opening at the mall
“The need to expand has existed for many years, what with the increased traffic and the expressed desire of many well-known brands to invest in My Mall, while the Zakaki area has been booming due to the casino and other large developments,” the mall’s CEO said.
The expansion of the commercial part, which will be implemented with the addition of another building with a ground floor, mezzanine and first floor, will take place at My Mall’s western side. The residential building, which will be developed to the south of the mall’s entrance, will consist of 14 floors and 109 apartments.
Limassol Mall, which acquired part of My Mall’s share capital in 2022, comprises two prominent international investment organisations of Israeli interests: Dorsel (B.A.Z.) Ltd and Ari Real-Estate (Arena) Investments, which are active in real estate and malls. The new major shareholders, who have already seen Cyprus as an attractive and safe investment destination, see huge potential in rapidly-growing western Limassol.
“We welcome developments, let us not worsen congestion”
Meanwhile, Limassol is expected to welcome another two malls. Atterbury Europe as well as Nicosia Mall in cooperation with the Papantoniou group officially announced their plans to open a mall, one in Mesa Gitonia and another in Agios Athanasios, in close proximity to one another.
Asked to comment, Hadjimitsis said that he is not against any investments or expansions in the retail sector. However, he expressed his reservations over the locations that have been chosen for the new malls.
“The new malls could be developed in the eastern part of Limassol (Parklane area), as the Jumbo Linopetra area is already congested, leading to daily traffic jams,” he explained.
He added that the new developments must be accompanied by the necessary road works so that they do not make the situation even worse for drivers and businesses.
He also doubted the feasibility of hiring hundreds of new people to cover the two malls’ needs, what with the serious staff shortages that are blighting the retail and hospitality sectors.
Procedures to recruit foreign staff must be sped up
The main concern is to accelerate the procedures to recruit foreign staff, said Hadjimitsis, adding that the big delays in examining applications are creating massive problems for the smooth operation of businesses, while also hindering the implementation of new developments and expansions.
“The lack of human resources in both retail and hospitality is a huge inconvenience for businesses and for this reason the procedures to hire staff from third countries must be immediately simplified and accelerated, so as to cover the businesses’ increased staffing needs,” he said.
Limassol’s mall is a popular destination
At the same time, despite the strong pressure and losses retail trade saw when the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East broke out, traffic at My Mall, both with Cypriots and Israelis living in Limassol, remained stable.
It is worth noting that on a daily basis, the mall is visited by between 22,000 and 25,000 people, with traffic reaching 2019 levels, while the shops/tenants’ turnover has also increased.