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Elliniko Project to Start as Lamda Set to Pay First Installment

A mockup of the proposed Ellinikon Development along the Athenian shoreline. Credit: Betoota44/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Lamda Development, the firm that is responsible for the gargantuan redevelopment of the old Ellinikon Airport, will pay its first down payment for the project next week.

The Greek state will be the beneficiary of the downpayment, which will go toward the purchase price of 8 billion euro ($9.7 billion) for the redevelopment of the area stretching along the scenic Athenian Riviera.

The allotment will pave the way for Lamda to kick off an investment in Greece’s biggest urban redevelopment plan after years of delays due to bureaucratic obstacles and opposition to the project.

The area will soon be home to new hotels, shopping malls, office space, homes and other features after the land lay fallow for almost twenty years or was abandoned after the Olympics were over in the Summer of 2004.

The sprawling, 1,500-acre (600-hectare) Hellenikon airport is still the site of old runways with weeds growing in their cracks, along with abandoned terminals which once formed the main international airport of the Greek capital during the glory days of Aristotle Onassis’ Olympic Airlines.

The American gaming giant inked a 99-year lease deal back in 2014 but the project lingered in limbo for years afterward as Greece struggled through its years of economic downturns.

Lamda will pay a first installment of 300 million euros ($360 million) to the Greek state on June 25, a third of the total payment that had been agreed upon by the two sides for the property, according to a company statement released yesterday.

“For seven years, we believed that our vision would become a reality. Today, we begin implementation,” Lamda Development CEO Odisseas Athanasiou said in the press release.

The New Democracy government under Kyriakos Mitsotakis which was voted into power in 2019 vowed to speed up the project, along with other lagging economic development in the country as part of its drive to modernize the country.

The major foreign investment involved in the gigantic development may help the nation finally emerge from its economic doldrums caused by the years of recession coupled with the troubles caused by the pandemic.

In the Summer of 2020, demolition crews started the removal of the first of hundreds of buildings that are slated for demolition at the site — which, at three times as large as the principality of Monaco, and comprised of flat, buildable land, is a boon for development.

Athanasiou had stated in May that if Lamda could secure property rights this month, construction work for the new Ellinikon could begin as early as this Summer.

The new Ellinikon area will boast the largest shopping center in Attica, which with commercial spaces of 72,000 square meters (775,001.55 square feet) will be 20% larger than the Mall in Maroussi.

The shopping center will be built adjacent to the “Elliniko” metro station, on Vouliagmeni Avenue.

There will be new office space and a hotel within walking distance of the mall, on the north side of the property, also near Vouliagmeni Avenue.

Another boutique shopping center will be built near the marina of Agios Kosmas, which will serve the customers of the luxury resort, within which the casino will operate.

The luxury resort with its casino, which was designed to resemble the Caryatids of the Erechtheion atop the Acropolis, will have its own conference center and a swimming pool located on a shelf-like floor that juts out halfway to the top of the building.

Another hotel, which will be built in the shape of a boat, will be in the marina at Agios Kosmas, which will be upgraded.

Approximately 800 homes and residences of various kinds, including apartments, villas, and the like, will be built all along the Athenian Riviera near the complex.

A skyscraper for apartments with a height of up to 200 meters (656 feet) above sea level, also along the coast near the marina of Agios Kosmas, is also being planned as part of the gargantuan development.

Ellinikon construction may take 36 months

Green spaces, which correspond to 40% of the metropolitan area, must also be part of the Ellinikon plan.

Construction of the casino at Hellinikon, the site of the old Athens airport, will be completed in 36 months, said CEO of Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE) Ray Pineault on May 16.

The company CEO discussed the investment at the 6th Delphi Economic Forum, which is being held under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Pineault said that the project at the former Athens international airport in Helllinikon is the  the first integrated tourist complex with casino (IRC) in Greece. It is not just a casino, but a large tourist investment, a milestone in the history of MGE, he added.

“Ellinikon is a project that will change the region. It will attract many visitors on an annual basis and will bring a 10 percent increase in tourism in Attica.

“In addition, it will generate about 7,000 new jobs and will bring many millions of tax revenue to the Greek State,” Pineault said.

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