An eight-billion-euro project to develop Hellenikon, Athens’ former airport complex, into a multi-purpose hub complete with metropolitan park, shops, offices, sports and conference facilities, luxury hotels, theme parks, museums, malls, cultural venues, health centers, educational and research facilities and marina, was given the green light by majority vote in Greek parliament on Wednesday night.
The project is expected to give the economy a much-needed boost and create jobs during the period of its construction. All parties backed the bill with the exception of the Communist Party and nationalist Golden Dawn.
Referring to the changes made in the concession contract, Greek assets body (TAIPED) chief Stergios Pitsiorlas said “the goal was to expand investors’ obligations and clarify outstanding issues”.
“The investors agreed to increase overall investment by one billion euros on infrastructure; manage and preserve the Metropolitan Park, take on 50 percent of the waste management program as well as increase green space and reduce construction by 15 percent on the coastal front,” Pitsiorlas added.
With regards to the timeline, the investors “agreed to ‘try’ to complete 80 percent of the project in the first 12 years – instead of the initial 15-year plan – and to give priority to infrastructure projects and to the park facilities. The government has requested that investors deposit 50 percent of the total sum by the end of 2018”.
According to a recent report by the Athens-based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Reseaerch (IOBE), the Hellenikon project is expected to boost state coffers by some 14.1 billion euros in tax revenues between 2016 and 2041,