ECONOMY

DEPOS develops land

The Public Corporation of Urban Planning and Housing (DEPOS) is becoming active in managing and developing its large, state-owned portfolio. Until now, DEPOS had been lagging behind Hellenic Tourist Properties or the various public utilities in property management, although not by much. It is only in recent months that telecom company OTE and Hellenic Railways (OSE) have formed property management subsidiaries. DEPOS’s portfolio consists of public land provided for specific purposes; for instance, it possesses a 100-hectare tract of land near the town of Arta, once used to house people made homeless by earthquakes. Another property, near Kavala, this one 120 hectares in size, once housed poor homeless people. Both are not in use today. But it is a third property, a 95-hectare tract near Porto Heli, in the Peloponnese, that DEPOS wants to develop first, since it is adjacent to a major tourist destination. The management wants to sell 25 hectares and use the capital to finance housing studies for the rest of the area, except a 9-hectare plot set aside as forest land. Concurrently, DEPOS is doing a feasibility study over developing its Kavala property, just outside the city limits. In the past, it had sold parts of a larger plot to the municipality and had also constructed 140 seaside homes, in cooperation with the local authorities. The DEPOS general manager wants to develop the Arta property, which is also a seaside one, into a European Environment and Wetlands Center. The property is already officially designated as a wetland. DEPOS wants to create 15 small hamlets, each named after one of the current European Union members, with seven or eight houses each. Restaurants, laboratories and a small convention space will also be built in an abandoned quarry within the property. The final decision, including whether to finance the project with 44 million euros, rests with Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou. Another DEPOS project concerns the development of villages in certain areas of the country, such as the prefectures of Arkadia, Ilia and the island of Lemnos, to provide holiday homes from Greek expatriates originally hailing from these areas.