Greece has among the smallest densities of shopping malls in Europe, with 57 square meters per 1,000 inhabitants, just 6.7 percent that of first-place Norway (857 sq.m.) and less than fellow Balkan countries Bosnia-Herzegovina (98 sq.m.) and Serbia (88 sq.m.).
This is about to change, with investments in coming years expected to approach 1 billion euros, according to a report by portfolio management company Pepper Hellas, a subsidiary of Australia’s Pepper Group.
By far the biggest investment will be by Lamda Malls SA at the former airport in Elliniko, a development project which is about to get off the ground after years of stalling by the previous government.
The subsidiary of Lamda Development and Minneapolis-based Varde Partners plans to build a 250,000 sq.m. mall there, which will be Europe’s largest, ahead of Westfield London (242,000 sq.m.) and Moscow’s Aviapark (230,000 sq.m.).
Lamda Development also plans to expand its Golden Hall mall, near Athens’ Olympic stadium, by 11,500 sq.m., adding retail space, food outlets and an Olympic Games museum. The investment is estimated at 25 million euros.
A far bigger project is under way at Pallini, east of Athens, by REDS, a subsidiary of construction group Ellaktor. The 200-million-euro “Cambas Project,” on the grounds of the former Cambas family winery, will be mixed-use.
Besides shops and entertainment facilities, it will also include offices, a hotel and a cultural center. REDS is also investing 23 million euros in the expansion of the Smart Park at Spata with 20-25 new shops.
Another big project hinges on the revival of the development in the Votanikos neighborhood of western Athens, which is supposed to include a new stadium for soccer team Panathinaikos, as well as a 50,000 sq.m. mall. International real estate firm Hines has signed a deal with Alpha and Piraeus banks, which foreclosed on the property once held by real estate firm Babis Vovos.
Not all investments will be in Athens. Dutch group Ten Brinke, for one, is planning a 40,000 sq.m. mall on Crete. A 5-million-euro upgrade of Thessaloniki’s Modiano Agora, with a food market and 140 shops, is also under way.