After years of delays, an 8 billion euro project to turn Athens’ former airport into a luxury resort should start construction in February, its developer said on Tuesday.
Lamda Development won a tender in 2014 to transform the 1,500-acre (600-hectare) site of the former Hellenikon airport, where disused runways, terminals and former Olympic venues have sat abandoned for almost two decades.
But Greece’s biggest urban redevelopment plan was repeatedly held back by bureaucracy and opposition, and it was only this summer that the company acquired the rights to start work on the beachfront scheme about three times the size of Monaco.
“Our aim is to have construction work started in four months, in February,” said Chief Planning and Construction Officer Dimitris Zontanos.
After knocking down old buildings, Lamda will begin the construction of a 200-metre high seaside apartment block and the expansion of an adjacent marina, he said.
Construction of an entertainment complex and a cluster of beach villas is due to begin in 2023, with parks, lakes, gardens and open spaces for public activities covering more than 70% of the sprawling site, Lamda said.
The company has said it has secured presale contracts worth nearly 700 million euros for the residences and beach villas.
The developer also plans to build two luxury hotels for 300 million euros and has signed agreements for the construction of a retail park and offices in Hellenikon.
The project is expected to create more than 80,000 jobs and attract more than 1 million tourists a year.