BUSINESS

Greek government holds on to Elliniko jewels

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations, Economy

After the expiry of the concession of the old Athens airport at Elliniko, on the city’s southern coast, the Greek state will retain ownership of the integrated casino complex, the marina, the marina hotel and the marina mall, and another six major plots plus one more where another hotel may be built, Kathimerini can reveal. The state will also hold on to all public spaces and parks, including the metropolitan park that will cover an area of 2 square kilometers.

In a nutshell, this is the outcome of many months of difficult negotiations between contractor Lamda Development and the state, which has just been completed. Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, serving as the representative of the state, had been targeting the project’s tourism infrastructure from the start of the talks.

“The strengthening of tourism, which is the country’s ‘heavy industry,’ has been the strategic objective of the minister in the negotiations, which was a real case study for gaming theory,” says a source who participated in the process.

The same source commented on how the ministry aimed high with the intention of securing more than Lamda had offered in its original proposal, which only comprised the public spaces and the areas surrounding the marina.

The sealing of this agreement for the distribution of the Elliniko project’s land was a prior action required for the completion of the transaction and the concession and development of the plot to begin.

When the concession period expires, the areas of the plot mentioned above will remain in the state’s ownership, and any buildings on them will also come into the state’s possession 99 years after the concession begins.

Although 99 years may sound like a long time, it is important for the state to secure the right to utilize this 70 percent share of the entire plot. That means the marina’s hotel, the casino and any other property on those areas cannot be sold off by the investor over those 99 years, unless the buyer agrees to acquire only the surface right and return the assets to the state upon the expiry of the concession – or unless the state consents and enters the transaction itself.

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