SOTIRA: 25-storey five-star hotel and hospital in Agia Thekla (PICTURES)

A 170 million euro investment is coming to Agia Thekla - 25-floor five-star hotel and four-floor international standard hospital with Intensive Care Unit

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A company in the area of ​​Agia Thekla in Sotira has submitted an application for the issuance of permits for an investment of 170 million euros that will concern the construction of a twenty-five-story five-star luxury hotel with a four-story hospital of international standards, which will also have an Intensive Care Unit.

According to today's report the proposed Project concerns the General Spatial Planning (masterplan) of mixed development which will include a 5-star category hotel unit, twenty-five floors and a hospital of international standards of four floors, in the area of ​​Agia Thekla, in the Municipality of Sotiras Famagusta.

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As the, the hotel will include a total of 261 rooms, with a total capacity of 522 beds. The hospital will have a capacity of 86 beds, of which 6 will be intensive care beds. The Project will have a total of 781 parking spaces, 57 of which are for the disabled, while 163 parking spaces will be available for public use. The hospital will include an underground parking space, while no underground space is planned for the hotel.

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The proposed development will include:

  • restaurants,
  • swimming pools,
  • gym,
  • spa,
  • stores,
  • outpatient,
  • first aid department,
  • departments of various medical specialties,
  • surgeries,
  • public green spaces
  • open public squares.

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Special measures for environmental protection

Due to the location of the Project, near an area of ​​the Natura 2000 network, the purpose of the Project Implementing Agency is the construction and operation of a "green" and "environmentally friendly" development. For this purpose, during the final design of the Project, it is intended to take special measures regarding the landscaping of the green areas, the materials for the exteriors of the buildings, the type and intensity of the exterior lighting as well as the rational positioning of the buildings within the plot , so as to minimize the effects on the ZEP.

For this proposed development, an application for preliminary opinions has been submitted by the Department of Town Planning and Housing with Application Number AMX/Π18/2019, in accordance with the Policy Statement in force at the time, prior to the implementation of the Local Plan of the Free District of Famagusta (2020).

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Location of the project

The location of the Project under consideration falls within the administrative boundaries of the Municipality of Sotiras Famagusta and occupies plots 416, 417, 210, 209 and 287 of the F/Sh. 0/2-283-372 and 0/2-284-372, with a total area of ​​60.040m2 (see Map 0-1). Part of the area in question to the south includes part of the area of ​​the Natura 2000 network "ZEP Area of ​​Agia Thekla - Liopetri", while to the east and west it is bordered by a set of holiday homes and tourist accommodation. The Project site is located on Agia Thekla Avenue, approximately 2km west of the Ayia Napa Marina under construction, while access to the parcels under consideration can also be made via the European Path E4, which passes through the northern border of the proposed development .

According to the Environmental Impact Assessment of Certain Projects Acts 2018 and 2021, the proposed Project falls within Categories 30 (a) and (b) of the First Schedule. Category 30 is generally concerned with 'Developments', while sub-category (a) is concerned with 'Complex and consolidated developments' and sub-category (b) is specifically concerned with 'Tall buildings with a number of storeys in excess of two of the maximum permitted number specified in the Local Plan or /and the Policy Statement'.

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According to Article 4 of Law 127(I)/2018 and its respective amendments, an Environmental Impact Assessment Study is required for the Projects included in the First Annex of the Law. However, due to the fact that part of the proposed Project falls within the Natura 2000 network area "Agia Thekla - Liopetri Area" the preparation of a "Special Ecological Assessment" is also required as part of the entire environmental impact assessment process, as defined in the provisions of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of article 2 of the Law, and is a binding, integral but directly distinguishable part of the Town Planning Approval process.

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The hotel and the hospital will be built in the central and northern part of the study blocks in order to maintain a safe distance from the Beach Protection Zone and the Natura 2000 area. For public green spaces a total area of ​​8.741m2 will be allocated, for social equipment an area will be allocated 1.748m2, while public spaces will be built for the public (squares, parking areas, gardens) with a total area of ​​9.910m2. Based on the above, the land that will be allocated for public use will constitute approximately 34% of the total area of ​​the study plots. It is noted that the part of the lots that fall within the ZEP will be allocated for public green spaces and social equipment space, and no constructions related to the operation of the development will be erected within them.

The study plots are placed in a central position within the Tourist Zone of the Sotiras Municipality on an area of ​​60.040m2, giving a comparative advantage to the proposed development for immediate visual recognition from the wider region, by creating a landmark. Therefore, the separate zoning organization creates the opportunity for the proposed building to be structured in height, and in such a way as to ensure as far as possible an unobstructed view from the hinterland (and the coastal road) to the coastal front – in contrast to a large and extensive horizontal arrangement, which will be distributed across the piece.

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Objective and Financial Data of the Project

The proposed Project, according to the Development Agency, aims to improve the standard of living of the wider region through the provision of high standards of medical treatment and care services, the attraction of quality medical tourism, as well as the enrichment and improvement of the tourism product of the region Famagusta, providing luxury accommodation, wellness, local gastronomy, entertainment and entertainment to the users of the hotel unit. In the framework of the Measures and Incentives for the encouragement and recovery of the development activity, the Development Agency wishes with the proposed Project to strengthen the promising development future of the Municipality of Sotiras in an effort to strengthen the confidence of potential international investors, while also strengthening the coverage of the needs of the local society.

The projects being built or planned in the wider area (Agia Napa Marina, Liopetriou Fishing Sanctuary, Sotiras Municipality beach front regeneration), in combination with the proposed Project, can create a new quality tourist center, which will upgrade the area and attract local and foreign tourism.

Attracting quality medical tourism is a key objective of the proposed Project. To achieve this goal, high-quality services and infrastructure are required, which the proposed Project will cover, and combined with the climate of the area, the combination of medical and tourism sectors is feasible. The Project will offer high-level medical services within a luxury tourist resort, so that patients and their accompanying persons can stay in Cyprus for the rehabilitation period or even for holidays.

The cost of implementing the proposed Project is estimated at one hundred and seventy million (€170.000.000), which will be covered by the Development Agency's own funds, as well as by the revenues generated by the operation of the development.

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Environmental studies and departmental views

For the project, a Special Ecological Assessment Study and an Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the construction and operation Masterplan have been submitted in October 2022.

In a letter dated December 16, 2020, the Director of the Department of Antiquities, Dr. Marina Solomidou – Ieronimidou, informed about the area adjacent to the proposed development, specifically in a block that includes a cemetery of carved chambered tombs (“Memorials of the Greeks”) west of the beach. Sirens".

The Director of the Forestry Department, Dr. Charalambos Christodoulou, in a letter dated November 3, 2020, referred to the European Long Distance Trail (E4) that exists in the area as well as to five endangered plant species that exist in the area, expressing the department's concerns about the cumulative effects and the increase in visitors to the beach as well as the fact that the coastal zone is part of the Natura 2000 Network.

For his part, the Director of the Forestry Department, Kostas Hatzipanagiotou, in his letter dated November 13, 2020, states the following:

"As you already know, the pieces of the proposed project fall adjacent to the protected area of ​​the Natura 2000 network Special Protection Zone (ZEP) "Area of ​​Agia Thekla-Liopetri-CY3000009". Within the ZEP there are records of several threatened plant species of the Red Book of the Flora of Cyprus.

The coastline of the ZEP area is under intense pressure, especially from the residential and tourist development and illegalities observed regarding the use of the beach. The project of the Ayia Napa Marina, as well as the tourism development of the area, act cumulatively in terms of the intensity of their effects.

In the report on due impact assessment of the development of the fishing shelter and river in Liopetri, issued in October 2018 by the Department of the Environment, a measure is included to avoid the construction or promotion of additional projects near the coast within the ZEP, in order to ensure that the project will not result in negative, irreversible effects on the ZEP. Given the large project of the Ayia Napa marina and its significant impacts on the SPA area and the type of designation and the increased traffic that the construction of the fishing shelter will bring, future projects within the SPA should be kept to a minimum as possible, since cumulative with the aforementioned projects likely to bring about negative, irreversible impacts on the ZEP.

With regard to projects located near the ZEP or in positions adjacent to the ZEP, during the assessment of the effects, the increased traffic and use of the beach as well as pedestrian movements that are likely to have a negative impact on the ZEP should be particularly taken into account. as well as lighting issues that may have negative effects on birdlife. For additional information, regarding data required to assess the effects on the bird fauna of the area, you can contact the Game and Wildlife Service, which is the Competent Authority for the implementation of measures for the protection, control, supervision and management of the ZEPs.

Impacts should be evaluated cumulatively with other existing and proposed projects in the area, as well as with observed illegalities in beach use. In the wider area where the proposed project is located, 3 other proposed projects are under consideration (Opus One hotel – AMX/00343/2019, 5* hotel by Abelia Campus Ltd & ACC Hadjichristou Bros Ltd – AMX/00470/2017, 4* hotel by Anastasia Tsokkou Estates Ltd AMX/00198/2017), while the regeneration of the coastal promenade by the Municipality of Sotiras is also planned.

In any case, the urban planning zone in the location area of ​​the proposed project is T2b, with a maximum building factor of 0,40 and a maximum number of floors of 3. The T2b zone, with the specific provisions, is included in the new Local Plan of the Free District of Famagusta, for which has been prepared, examined and evaluated Strategic Environmental Impact Study (SESIA) and the Department of Environment has issued an opinion in June 2020.

The proposed project, which includes a 25-storey hotel, a 25-storey residential building and a 4-storey hospital, far exceeds the provisions of the T2b urban planning zone. This fact, combined with the intense pressures the region is already under, make the proposed project particularly problematic and the Department of the Environment maintains strong reservations about its promotion."

Source: / With information from the Department of Environment