Putting The Luxury Back Into Cyprus
A new era of modern beachfront living begins as Ayia Napa Marina begins construction in Cyprus. The £190 million mixed-use residential and commercial project offers luxurious residences, world-class yachting facilities (with a 600 berth marina that can accommodate yachts of up to 60 metres in length), a variety of retail boutiques, waterfront fine dining options, and recreational and nightlife experiences. The development will feature 190 spacious one-four-bedroom apartments, penthouses on the top two floors, 11 luxury beach villas and 18 marina and island villas directly overlooking the marina, featuring walk-out access to private berths, with prices starting at £430,000. The ambitious project is expected to offer new dynamism to the local economy and Cyprus’ tourism in general, making Ayia Napa the most cosmopolitan tourist resort in the Mediterranean. We talk exclusively to the CEO of the Caramondani Group, Stavros Caramondani, about his family’s dream to build the first luxury marina and residential project in the South East cost of Cyprus.
Tell me about your project – who is behind it?
The development is the realisation of the dream and vision of my father, Gerasimos Caramondani, and Egyptian billionaire investor Naguib Sawiris. They both joined forces to implement a long-term strategic plan aiming to set a new standard for luxurious sea-front marina living. We are blessed that Naguib Sawiris also shares this dream and has invested in it as without him, we couldn’t have brought this project to fruition. We are both family businesses, and even though one is a billionaire and we are much, much smaller, the two families have a great chemistry and trust between them, which is why I think it will be a great success. I also think it will be successful because Cyprus is blessed by beautiful nature, year-round sunshine, modern infrastructure, a high standard of living and a genuine culture of warmth and hospitality, strategically located in the eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. The modern business environment, coupled with a high quality of life, makes Cyprus an ideal place for both visitors and investors.
Why is your project unique and why will it change the way people think about Cyprus?
Cyprus is considered a safe haven even though we had to be bailed in 2013 by the EE Monetary Fund and we did go bankrupt, but we have rebounded very quickly and as you know, on March 31st 2016, we exited the monetary fund programme and our banks were fully recapitalised. The weather is beautiful here and even in winter, it is very mild. There is a great infrastructure, there is a transparent lender system, bureaucracy is at minimum – much better than our fellow Greeks – and things are much better now for off-shore companies willing to invest. Furthermore, we are building a very high-end marina and so we are targeting high-end customers. We are building the marina in one of the most beautiful parts of Cyprus with 3 of top 10 beaches in the world, in an area which at the moment does attract tourists but this project will change the area and, I dare to say, the Eastern Mediterranean as well. We are targeting people from the Middle East, Russia, North Africa and Europe, by providing them with a summer house. That is our target. There are other incentives such as citizenship and residency schemes. So all this put together, and the timing of it, gives us the ability to believe it will be a success. We will exceed the expectations of our residents and our guests, and not only transform the Cyprus skyline, but change the way that you think about Cyprus too.
What is special about the design?
Rising high above the marina, we will have two iconic towers which are visible from both land and sea. Over 100 metres tall, the towers will stand out welcoming seafarers, residents and visitors alike. The towers’ twisting forms are inspired by the caryatids and sculptures found at archaeological sites throughout Cyprus and their facades are articulated with a latticework suggestive of the woodcraft and detail of ship-building. We have the top architects from the US who are internationally recognised as experts in waterfront design. The villa architecture is a contemporary expression of new and old, combining locally quarried stone around the base, with sleek plaster volumes cantilevered above. Large expanses of glass will give breath-taking views around the villas.
What services will you be offering new buyers?
We are not just selling a villa or an apartment in a beautiful marina; we are selling the whole idea, the concept, the services that we provide, and a commercial return on investment. You are not just buying a house by a beach somewhere – the difference is that you are buying into a marina environment. With our design and choice of materials, you have the whole package. The first phase will be ready by June 2019, and we will operate the marina for the next 50 years. We will provide services to boat owners and residents, as well as facility management so that owners can get a return on their investment during the months they are not in Cyprus. We are there, we are committed and we will deliver the best services.
What is your company ethos and what have your learnt from your father?
As CEO of the company, I have to say that I have learnt from my father that the important things you need to recognise are your strengths and weaknesses, and you also need to focus on building partnerships with professional advisers. In other words, you have to understand who you are first, and secondly, if you want to be successful, you have to accept that you cannot just do it on your own, that you need your family members, you have to invest in human resources, you have to allow people to take initiative, and you have to find good people that you can trust who can become your right hand people. Without sharing, I am afraid there is not much you can do. Because my father was a very ambitious guy, when he lost everything in 1974 due to the invasion, he remade everything following this philosophy, and this is what I have learnt from him and what I am going to continue to do going forward.
For more information about the project, go to www.marinaayianapa.com.