BUSINESS

Top court to consider Elliniko project approval

TAGS: Privatizations

Greece’s top administrative court will consider on January 29 whether to give the go-ahead for a luxury resort project on the plot of a disused Athens airport, which is a key part of the government’s privatization program.

Progress on the project, which has been beset by delays, is being watched by Greece’s creditors as a test of Athens’s commitment to privatization under its multi-billion-euro international bailout.

Property developer Lamda signed a 99-year lease with the state in 2014 to convert 620 hectares of wasteland at the former Elliniko airport into a complex of luxury residences, hotels, a yachting marina and casinos.

Athens has struggled to fast-track the project, partly due to opposition from groups that fear it will damage the environment and local cultural heritage.

Lamda, backed by Chinese and Gulf funds, submitted its 8-billion-euro development plan last July.

The court, known as the Council of State, needs to sign off on a presidential decree to build the resort on the site, which was Athens’s main airport until 2001.

The process will start on January 29 but the court may need more than one session to reach a decision, court officials said on Wednesday.

The government will then have to license a casino in the area and issue building permits for Lamda to start excavation work.

Lamda has said 10,000 jobs will be created once construction works start and the project will generate 70,000 jobs within five to six years.

[Reuters]

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