The government on Wednesday indicated that an important step had been taken toward the realization of a planned real estate project on the site of the capital’s former airport at Elliniko following a decision by the country’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS), ruling that just a small fraction of the site is of archaeological interest.
“In a very short time we will be in a position to announce the fulfillment of all of the Greek state’s obligations,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in comments to reporters. He underlined the intention of the leftist-led administration to move “as quickly as possible” to allow the Greek-Arab-Chinese consortium to begin work on the site.
The relief was palpable in the words of Tzanakopoulos and other government officials who, according to some sources, had feared a more radical decision by KAS.
After its fourth session on the subject in just over a month, KAS late on Tuesday decided to declare a section covering 30 hectares at Elliniko as being of archaeological interest. The section comprises just a small piece of the 620-hectare plot.
Some members of KAS had been in favor of up to half of the plot being declared of archaeological interest, a development that would have certainly obstructed the investors’ plans for developing the site. The final decision, however, ensures that the investment consortium will not abandon the project, Tzanakopoulos said.
Tuesday night’s decision requires ratification by the government and a presidential decree must be issued approving the plan for the development of the site.
Commenting on the turn of events, the spokesman for the main conservative opposition New Democracy, Vassilis Kikilias, said there were “further questions regarding the realization of the investment,” noting that the project at Elliniko, first signed in 2014 when ND was in power, “had been targeted and opposed by SYRIZA and its components,” referring to the several small factions within the leftist party. “Investments require a plan, a serious approach and above all a secure legal framework to proceed,” he added.