Luxury real estate in Cyprus is becoming increasingly compelling, as the country continues to recover from the financial crisis and as more and more high net-worth buyers see Cyprus as a premier destination. The residency investment programme helps, of course. Under the scheme, if a person of any nationality invests at least 2 million euros in Cyprus, that person has the right to apply for citizenship. But this is not the only draw for foreign buyers.
“Cyprus is very appealing for many reasons,” said Michalis Hadjipanayiotou, CEO of Cybarco, Cyprus’s leading luxury property developer. “It’s a very welcoming country. People come here, and they feel like they could have been born here — nice weather, good people, secure, good food, good education, [and] good health.”
Even with competition from other European nations, Cyprus is increasingly topping foreign investors’ lists. The small island is only a few hours by plane from Athens, London, and Berlin, and it’s just three hours from Dubai. Its added benefit is its Mediterranean island culture and beautiful scenery.
The competitive advantages of Cyprus were recognized long ago by previous generations of the Lanitis Group – Cybarco’s parent company – which is one of the oldest businesses in the country. The group’s key aims were to strengthen the Cypriot economy and contribute to the good of society, which has been implemented though activities in areas spanning from agriculture and tourism, to general trade and property development. In 1945, Cybarco was founded to help achieve this goal. The company contains two divisions: Cybarco Development, which focuses on luxury real estate and larger-scale developments, and Cybarco Contracting, which builds infrastructure projects, like highways and hospitals. The company is involved in several ventures in the Gulf, like Al Sharq Hotel in Qatar, and the National Theatre of Bahrain.
“We’ve been in business for 73 years, so it means that we’re doing something right” enthused Hadjipanayiotou, who has led the development side for the past decade, overseeing landmark undertakings such as the Akama Bay Villas, Amathusa Coastal Heights, Sea Gallery Villas, the Oval, and the Limassol Marina. “We always have in mind what the customer needs” he added, highlighting the fact that this forward-thinking approach is what has enabled Cybarco to always be one step ahead, whether through large-scale infrastructure projects or luxury property developments.
Limassol Marina has nothing to envy any other marina in the world, commented Hadjipanayiotou, “it has the facilities; it has the accessibility to the city centre,” he added. “The Oval — you could take that building and place it in London or Dubai, and it would still be something that people would look up at and say, it’s nice. And I think our new project now, Trilogy, has shown – by the sales and the momentum that we’ve gotten – that it is very appealing.”
And it’s precisely from the company’s commitment to innovation that Cybarco’s Trilogy project was born. Three years ago, Cybarco set its mind to creating a development where people “could live, work and play” said Hadjipanayiotou – a concept that was lacking in the Cypriot market, at the scale that it could be found in either Miami or Dubai. The Trilogy, when fully complete in 2023, will contain three towers — 38 stories tall — with two being purely residential, and one being a mixed-use building. In addition, it will have “a huge plaza accessible by the public (over 7,000 meters squared), restaurants, bars, cafes, three spas, and three gyms,” explained Hadjipanayiotou. “So, in a way it’s ‘hotel living’ but not being in a hotel, but being in your own residence.”
The Trilogy Limassol Seafront project stems from the recognition that the demand from high-net worth individuals for Cypriot waterfront property, is clearly there, and “if you have a good product, there is always a buyer at the right value,” said Hadjipanayiotou.
The 350-million-euro project entails a collaboration between world-class developers, architects and designers. Construction works are being undertaken by a consortium of Cybarco Contracting and Cebarco Bahrain – an experienced international contractor responsible for the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain International F1 Circuits. “We have an experienced contractor, and our architects [and] our engineers, have a lot of experience in high-rise buildings” stated Hadjipanayiotou, confidently. WKK – the project’s architects – are known for the design of Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab Hotel, whilst the engineering firm, Thornton Tomasett, is currently working on the world’s tallest building: the one-kilometre high Jeddah Tower. “It’s challenging, but they’ve done it before, so we think we have a very good team in place to deliver within time, and to do what we promised”, concluded Hadjipanayiotou. While expectations are high, the project is already proving fruitful, even before completion.
“Already in the six months since we launched, we have sales of over 85 million euros, which has been extremely above our expectations. We’ve got over 15 nationalities. The other thing that always makes us proud is more than 25 percent of our sales are to Cypriots, which is a big thumbs up from the local community,” said Hadjipanayiotou enthusiastically.
Beyond providing a luxury lifestyle experience, and contributing to foreign and domestic investment in the country’s luxury real estate sector, the benefits of Cybarco’s projects are reverberating throughout the Cypriot economy. These projects are creating hundreds of jobs, attracting high-end tourism, reviving the local area, and enhancing Cyprus’s image internationally.
The only real pushback to these projects comes from locals and regulators who worry about the environmental impact of high-rise buildings. But as with the Limassol Marina, which received pushback at first, yet now attracts on average 3,000–4,000 people a day, Hadjipanayiotou said, “if you do it properly, people will like it, and they will come and visit, and I think the concerns will be overcome.”
With regard to Trilogy, he pointed out that “this is a 22,000 square metre plot, and we’re only covering 11 percent with the buildings. So, if we didn’t go high and we put 20 buildings in [as opposed to three], then probably we would have covered 80 percent of the plot, which means there wouldn’t be the plaza accessible to the public.”
While Hadjipanayiotou hears these concerns, he supports building up, if it properly follows government regulation. “We need to work together. All of us — private and public,” he commented. “Because, in the end, we’re all working for the same good, which is trying to make Cyprus more attractive.”