The development of the old Athens airport plot at Elliniko is the equivalent of 2,000 regular projects under the provisions of the investment incentive law, Tassos Giannitsis, chairman of the project’s contractor Lamda Development, said at the company’s general meeting on Wednesday, while its chief executive announced that a subsidiary will be set up to which its three shopping centers will be transferred.
Giannitsis stressed the significance of the Elliniko development and said the impact on employment will be huge. He added that it is possible that work on the development of the 6.2-square-kilometer site will begin within the next 12 months.
Lamda CEO Odysseas Athanasiou said a company will be created to undertake The Mall Athens, Golden Hall in Maroussi and Mediterranean Cosmos in Thessaloniki. The new subsidiary could also be boosted with the acquisition of more shopping centers, he said, which is a sign that the Athens-listed company intends to create an autonomous corporate vehicle in the mall domain that will be easier to promote to funds and investors abroad.
The creation of a subsidiary is seen as a natural move after the many years that Lamda has been operating the malls. Sector professionals say that, internationally, property development companies that operate malls tend to manage them for their first few years until they have established a presence in the market before selling them in order to focus on new investments.
Athanasiou said it is possible the new company will be listed on the Athens stock exchange, either in the form of a property investment company (AEEAP) or as a new firm focusing on shopping centers but with the possibility of expanding to other niche property markets.
“The group’s malls continued to operate with all their spaces leased out, attracting more than 22 million visitors per year. All malls have maintained a rising course over the last 36 months, the only exception being July 2015, when the capital controls started. Despite the continuing recession, in 2015 the average spending per visitor rose 4 percent year-on-year,” Lamda stated.