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13 April, 2024
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Struggles amidst renovation on Makarios Avenue

Closure of Etam and Undiz on the newly renovated street highlights persistent hurdles in Nicosia's supposed retail hub

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

I've heard that two stores of a well-known chain recently closed down on Makarios Avenue, namely Etam and Undiz.  While these brands thrive in malls and other cities, they seem to struggle in the heart of Nicosia. Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated case. Instead of bustling shops, visitors are greeted by closed doors and signs advertising "For Sale" or "For Rent". However, there's talk of new store openings in the coming months, indicating a continued interest in investing in the area despite widespread disappointment. But will another store make a significant difference?

For those unfamiliar with the street or not from the area, this might seem like a temporary setback, with development on the horizon. However, many local businesses and residents had high hopes for Makarios Avenue, especially after its renovation in December 2021. Yet, two years later, both traffic and business performance have fallen short of expectations. While Makarios sees occasional spikes in activity, particularly on weekends and during special events, it lacks the competitive edge and distinct identity needed to compete with malls or become an entertainment hub.

High rents, limited parking, and a lack of vision for the area exacerbate the situation. Makarios cannot rely on its past glory to attract visitors, especially with the rise of e-commerce and the dominance of nearby malls. While loyal customers may still frequent the street, foot traffic for shopping remains unsatisfactory, except for a few big brands.

The potential influx of tourists could change the game, but plans for the Makarios hotel have yet to materialize. Ultimately, the center of Nicosia must offer a unique identity distinct from shopping centers. It could focus on becoming a culinary destination or host cultural events to draw visitors seeking social and cultural experiences.

Redevelopment efforts and investment are commendable, but without a clear vision and coordinated efforts from private, municipal, and state entities, Makarios Avenue risks losing its appeal permanently.

[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original and may have been edited for clarity]

Cyprus  |  consumers  |  local  |  shopping

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