Work has begun on six ten-storey apartment blocks near Zeytinlik. Construction, which received planning approval earlier this month, will be carried out by the land owners Fark Yatirim Gelistirme Insaat Tic Ltd, a partnership between Akacan Group and Istanbul mall developers Hasirciler AS. They have promised a “first stage handover” to apartment owners by October 2017.
The six apartment buildings will dominate the skyline and will be built on a 14 donum site close to residences.
Excavation for the foundations have begun in an area that has been regulated by planning laws since 1993.
Kyrenia’s mayor and civil engineer Nidai Gungordu has consistently opposed the project. “We now have no choice but to accept it or face legal action,” he told ‘Cyprus Today’ after the development was approved, after the number of apartments were reduced to 345.
His main concerns, he said were water shortages, refuse disposal, increased traffic and the ability of the local fire services to deal with emergencies in high-rise buildings.
Head of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Architects Azmi Oge, who had also spoken out against the project, would make no comment on the issue, despite the fact that his organisation had allegedly rubber stamped the project.
Cyprus Turkish Construction Contractors’ association head Cafer Gurcafer said that granting planning approval to the project would be “the first of a stampede to get high-rise approval which will ruin Girne before stricter zoning laws are finalised.”
There are at least 30 developments that are 10 storeys high in the pipeline, currently awaiting approval, with around 200 more of up to eight storeys. Town planning office head Ertan Oztek was unavailable to comment as to whether the latest high-rise approval had set a precedent.
At a public stakeholders’ meeting, on 16th June, locals had said that they had always accepted as inevitable that the land would be developed, however the legally permitted height of buildings had suddenly been increased to ten floors by a Cabinet decision in 2011.
A woman, whose house lies on the borders of the building site said that: “Girne will be hemmed in by high-rise buildings, unable to see the sea or mountains for a project which is being marketed in Turkey and not even for local people.”
According to the developers, their project as will be “a jewel glittering in Kyrenia city with its breath-taking views, offering single or family apartments, glass lifts, indoor and outdoor pools, sports fields, a green area, sauna, hairdressers, grocery store, drycleaners, children’s playgrounds and parking.”