Despite assurances by Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis that a deal between BlackRock and the government regarding the construction of the Academy Gardens mall in western Athens is imminent, the issue appears to be particularly difficult and may well not be resolved.
Following reports that BlackRock is considering pulling out of the project for the 50,000 square meter mall at Kolonos, Stathakis said on Wednesday there will be a positive conclusion very soon. For that to happen, he added, a cooperation agreement with the investors must be signed, binding them on three points: the payment of expropriation costs (estimated at 5 million euros), the showcasing of archaeological finds and an emphasis on green spaces.
That would open the way for the presidential decree needed for the issue of the construction permits. However, these demands have met strong resistance on the investors’ part.
While they agree with the archaeological aspect and emphasizing green spaces, “asking us to proceed to expropriations, which is the competence of the state, is unheard of,” stressed Giorgos Tsoukalas, chief executive at Artume, which belongs to BlackRock Europe Property Fund III.