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Mont Parnes Remodeling on Hold

Plans by the owners of the Mont Parnes casino-hotel to demolish the structure and rebuild another in its place may have to be re-evaluated following a forthcoming decision by the Archaeological Ephorate for Modern Monuments, which is to recommend that the Culture Ministry designate the building as a listed monument, according to press reports.

Designed by the architect Pavlos Mylonas (1915-2005), the building changed hands in January after the British venture capital firm BC Partners acquired 51.57 percent of Hyatt for 480 million euros.

In 2003, Hyatt Regency had bought 34.4 percent of shares in the firm that owns Mont Parnes as well as 100 percent of shares in the firm that manages it. The company has since invested heavily in refurbishing the complex, and had announced a decision to re-create the central building. It is not known if the new owners have the same intentions.

In the meantime, the ephorate is likely to recommend the listing of the main building. Between the time the building was opened in 1961 and its acquisition by Hyatt, a number of additions were made that changed what had been, at the time, an innovative modern design.

More recent construction revealed serious structural problems caused by the 1999 earthquake, whose epicenter was right under the mountain. The highly seismic nature of the area was one of the strongest arguments used by those in favor of demolishing the casino. However, the main building has proved to be stable, and the casino has continued to operate.

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