Greek authorities broke a deal this week to commence the implementation of one of the biggest urban regeneration projects throughout Europe in the coming years that will create the largest Metropolitan Green and Recreational Park in Europe at the widespread site of the old Athens airport in Hellinikon.
The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) and Lamda Development S.A. signed on June 7th a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to remove obstacles to a massive investment at the old Athens airport site in Hellinikon, amending the terms of an existing sale and long-term lease agreement that dated from November 2014.
Tuesday’s MoU includes various improvements to the original deal, mainly important technical features of the Hellinikon former airport’s redevelopment, an increase of the overall investment to 8bn euros (from about 7bn), the completion of the investment in a shorter period of time and the condition of delivering 80% of the project within 12 years (instead of 15), so as to meet most expectations of citizens, local communities and the wider region of metropolitan Athens.
According to reports, the signing of the MoU paves the way for the settlement of certain contentious issues of the agreement, which is expected to be ratified by parliament in autumn. “Today's agreement, which specifies all the basic design requirements and economic parameters of the Project is a milestone, because it provides the opportunity to accelerate all procedures for commencing the project that will become the largest urban regeneration throughout Europe for the coming years”, reads Lamda Development’s announcement, for the completion of the deal.
The main parameters of the project involve the upgrading of the beach, residential developments, superregional and local commerce, hotel facilities and recreational areas, utilization of the Olympic facilities and the creation of new sports facilities, a new golf course, venues that highlight our cultural heritage, educational facilities and research centres. Moreover, within the project’s framework, the investors will create, finance and maintain the largest Greek -and one of the largest in the world- Metropolitan Green and Recreational Park, which will cover an approximate area of 2.600.000m2, or 42 pct of the entire site.
According to the company, the overall project would create 70,000 jobs and boost Greek economic output by 2 percent, bringing in revenues of 10 billion euros for the Greek state in 25 years. Once completed, it is expected to have a considerable positive impact on Greek tourism as well as the country’s annual GDP, securing significant income for the State.
“Most importantly, this investment, due to its size and qualitative characteristics, will install an important development axis in the economy of the country, and especially that of the Attica region, which will become a reference point for many decades”, Lamda Development’s president, Tassos Giannitsis, and CEO, Odisseas Athanasiou, said in a joint statement welcoming the agreement.
“With the signing of a new agreement for Hellinikon, we outline the implementation of an investment that will seal the country's new path to development,” HRADF president Stergios Pitsiorlas said. “The significant improvement of the existing deal resolves the problems that formed the basis for objections in the previous period. In the coming years, the largest urban redevelopment project will be implemented that will create the largest urban park in Europe,” he added.