BUSINESS

Athens Riviera finally growing into its potential

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

An aerial shot of the former Olympic facilities at Aghios Cosmas, near the old airport at Elliniko. Because of its size, development of this area is expected to spearhead major changes.

TAGS: Property, Business, Economy

The so-called Athens Riviera is starting to take shape as a number of investments on the Greek capital’s southern coast that have been expected for some years are now approaching their launch date.

The area in question is the 70-kilometer coastal stretch from Faliro near Piraeus all the way to Sounio, which is expected to be developed within the next decade into a destination in its own right.

Real estate market experts, moreover, say that if the planned investments go ahead – and particularly the overhaul of the area occupied by the former airport at Elliniko – this area could become a new hub for professional, education and cultural activities.

Asteras Vouliagmeni

The sale of the Asteras resort in the southern suburb of Vouliagmeni, which has taken more than two years, is close to completion, after the plenary of the Council of State – the country’s highest administrative court – recently approved an amended presidential decree defining its uses and the terms of construction, the original form of which had been rejected. The 301,865 square meter expanse has been separated into zones, each of which has been approved for a different form of development. The maximum expanse that can be built has been set at 56,500 square meters, while once the project is completed, 20,655 square meters less of the overall expanse will be built. The residential part of the development will cover 39,000 square meters, while 74 percent of the expanse will be used for tourism and leisure infrastructure. The southwest of the peninsula will have 15 luxury villas, in the location where the abandoned Aphrodite hotel is today. Each of these will be on a 1.5 hectare plot and come with a swimming pool and garden. With each carrying a price tag in the millions of euros, these villas will be marketed at wealthy buyers looking for a privileged spot on the Athens Riviera. The overall investment is estimated at 700 million euros.

Varkiza & Sounio

The stretch from the seaside suburb of Varkiza to Cape Sounio, atop which stands the iconic Temple of Poseidon, is the least developed part of the coastline, but Algean Property estimates that the completion of the investments in the general vicinity will boost investor demand in this part as well.

Elliniko

Things are also looking up for the site of the former airport at Elliniko, which, because of its size, is expected to spearhead major changes both for the capital’s coastal front and for the country as a whole.

The State Audit Council has already given the green light to the amended agreement between the investors and the state, and it has gone unchallenged. The price of the expanse has been set at 915 million euros and the amendments made to the memorandum of understanding include infrastructure works that will be assumed by the contractor for public transportation and waste management. The agreement also foresees that 51 percent of the nominal share purchase price will have to be paid by 2018, rather than 2022, as originally outlined. Meanwhile, it also clearly sets the construction of a 200 hectare park as one the investors’ top priorities as soon as construction begins, possibly in the summer of 2017.

SNFCC

The project that is causing the most excitement right now – because it is near completion – is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), a fantastic building complex that is to be the new home of the Greek National Opera and the National Library, which is expected to be a major draw for local and international visitors.

The SNFCC is set to open to the public next spring. This is a 560-million-euro investment by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation which will be donated to the Greek state upon completion. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, it is estimated that the SNFCC will contribute 140 million euros a year to the country’s gross domestic product, will generate 2,300 full-time jobs, and will boost the state’s tax revenues to the tune of 19 million euros a year.

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