The ministry of environment approved the environmental study for a major tourism development project in Lassithi, Crete. The developer, London-based Minoan Group, formerly Loyalward Ltd. had initially signed a contract with the Ecclesiastical Foundation of Panagia Akrotiriani back in 1998 for developing a tourism facility on 26,000 stremma property owned by the Toplou Monastery.
Minister of Environment Giorgos Souflias described the project, budgeted at 1.2 billion euro, as the biggest tourism investment in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe. Minoan Group estimates that the project will create 3,000 news jobs for area residents.
Mr. Souflias pointed out that the project met all of the environmental laws and that the ministry’s decision resolved an issue that had been pending for many years. The first plans for the development were submitted in 1994 and were criticized by local groups because of the potential negative effects of the golf course on the environment. Since then, the project plans have been amended to protect the environment.
Located on the Cavo Sidero peninsula in northeastern Crete, the development involves the construction of six tourism complexes with a capacity of 7,000 beds.
The development will also include two hotels, 154 villas and 115 apartments, three golf courses that meet international standards, a modern athletic center with soccer field, basketball and volleyball courts, a conference center and multi-function hall for up to 1,200 people. The infrastructure for the development will include a desalinization and a biological treatment plant.
Now that environmental approval been received, the next step before construction begins is approval of the building design and the issue of permits. Once permits are received, the first phase of construction will be completed in about 18 months.