BUSINESS

BlackRock freezes 300-million-euro Athens mall plan

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Business

US investment company BlackRock has decided to freeze its plan for the development of a major mall in western Athens – at least for the next few years – after 11 years of battling Greek bureaucracy, in view of the continuing country risk in Greece.

Just a few weeks before the expected issue of the building permit needed for the 300-million-euro investment in a new 55,000-square meter shopping and entertainment complex at Akadimia Platonos, the US company decided to stop trying.

According to Artume, BlackRock’s vehicle for the implementation of the “Academy Gardens” project, the decision was made for a number of reasons, starting with the negative economic climate both in Greece and internationally, as illustrated by the recent slide of local bank stocks. Additional reasons include the international uncertainty, Greece’s delicate political balance and the upcoming general, local and European elections.

These developments have also generated turbulence in the credit system, preventing the company from financing its investment, at least on beneficial terms. Artume has already invested some 120 million euros in the project, of which 90 million concerned the purchase and clearance of the main plot and bordering plots. The rest has gone toward taxes, social security contributions and studies.

There had also been negotiations with constructions groups such as Ellaktor and Lamda Development, which were seen participating in the project.

Exactly a year ago BlackRock had issued a warning it might suspend its investment in the plot of the former Mouzakis textile factory, citing long delays in the issuing of the necessary licenses and the negative attitude of the government and various groups which had expressed opposition to the investment’s implementation, even though it included the creation of green spaces and cultural facilities worth 5-6 million euros.

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