Lamda Development, the managing investor of the 7-billion-euro Hellinikon project, on Friday said it is ready to launch works on the Hellinikon premises, as long as the Greek government displays the political will for the project to materialize. Hellinikon is where Athens’ former airport once stood.
“The investment, within the framework of legality, must be accompanied by the necessary political will that moves beyond words to actions,” CEO Lamda Development Odysseus Athanassiou said in a interview to Action24, adding that decision-makers should be able to resolve any problems that arise in the process.
Athanassiou stressed that much will depend on the legitimacy probe of the presidential decree by the Council of State.
“We have spent and continue to spend millions of euros on studies, and if we wanted to exit the project, we would have done so in November 2016 (the original deadline of the contract signed in 2014),” he said.
“Hellinikon is more than just an investment, it is an emblematic work,” Athanassiou said, clarifying that for the project to move ahead the licensing procedure for the casino must be completed. He stressed that this was non-negotiable.
“An institutional framework must be created for the completion of the competition before the investment is made… The casino is a prerequisite for the investment,” he said.
Lamda Development has repeatedly said that the project will in the long-run create 70,000 jobs. In September 2016, when the concession contract was passed in parliament, the company received over 1,500 CVs in just two days.
Earlier this month, the company said that the Hellinikon investment could not proceed due to continuous set backs and political double speak. Days before it had issued an explanatory statement listing the 10 conditions – nine of which have not been met – for the project to move ahead.