Construction work on a $7.9 billion project to convert Athens’s former airport complex into a seaside resort is set to start within the next six months, State Minister Alekos Flambouraris said on Friday.
A consortium of Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors backed by conglomerate Fosun, led by Greece’s Lamda Development, signed a deal in 2014 to develop the Elliniko coastal area, one of Europe’s biggest real estate development projects.
The consortium will pay 915 million euros to lease the site, which is three times the size of Monaco, and the plan is to turn it into one of Europe’s biggest coastal resorts.
It had hoped to start work by June but the project has been delayed due to various bureaucratic hurdles.
Greek forestry authorities said last month, for example, that the site includes some land that is classified as forest, a decision which Greece has said it will challenge.
Before securing any building permits, it will also need the country’s archaeological authorities to say whether the site includes protected antiquities.
Under a deal with its EU/IMF lenders, Athens needs to speed up the Elliniko investment and address any forestry and archaeological issues
The consortium plans to build a 500-acre park along with apartments, hotels and shopping malls that will transform the disused area, which also includes some venues from the 2004 Olympics, into a magnet for tourists.