BUSINESS

Tendering process for ex-US base on Crete draws closer

TAGS: Property, Privatizations

Crete is set to see its own Elliniko project as Greece’s privatization agency TAIPED draws closer to initiating an international tender process for the development of two large real estate properties on the island.

The former US military base in Gournes, outside Iraklio, has been likened to a “mini Elliniko,” referring to the plot of a disused airport in Athens that is earmarked for a luxury resort project.

TAIPED’s plan will provide for the utilization of 35 of the almost 79 hectares covered by the former US base until it was closed down in 1993.

The coastal property is easily accessible, as it is located on the northern Crete highway, is 16 km from Iraklio port, 13 km from the new airport and 10 km from the popular resort of Hersonissos.

Investors will be able to build up to two luxury hotels and some 80 holiday homes but also other tourist, commercial and conference facilities.

The wider area around the property has remarkable growth potential, mainly due to its use for tourism and holiday homes. Nearby features include the Crete International Exhibition Center, CretAquarium, the University of Crete, Crete Science and Technology Park, Iraklio International Airport, top-class hotel accommodation and a golf course.

Kathimerini understands that Greek hoteliers as well as foreign groups and investment funds have already been in contact with TAIPED regarding the property, which is one of the last remaining empty plots in the Iraklio area and could potentially host a casino.

While a law passed last year foresees a casino in Crete, its exact location is the decision for the finance ministry, which has made no formal move on the issue.

A call for tenders for Gournes property was also made in 2014 but the process was cancelled. The property was subsequently divided into two plots: a 31.6-hectare site on the coast and a 3.5-hectare one facing a local road. While the seaside plot attracted no interest, but toy retailer Jumbo and real-estate developer Dimand were interested in the smaller site.

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