ECONOMY

Central Athens hotels put up for sale due to urban ills

At least 12 hotels have come on the market in central Athens, according to research conducted by Kathimerini on specialized websites dealing with commercial property.

Most of these establishments are located in run-down parts of the Greek capital, such as around Omonia Square, where advertisements show that there are four hotels for sale around the square and three along Patission Street. Other central locations include Syntagma, Kolonaki, Plaka and Psyrri.

The 12 hotels advertised are being sold by private owners rather than businesses at a total cost of 188.5 million euros. Some of these units have been on the market for quite some time, while there are also cases where the owners have slashed their asking price significantly but are yet to attract a buyer.

One example is a hotel with 385 rooms in the Omonia area whose original asking price went down from 145 million euros in 2010 to 95 million this year, though this is the highest sale price among the 12 hotels.

Athens hoteliers have repeatedly stressed the problems created in their sector by the degradation of downtown Athens and have made numerous appeals to the state to crack down on crime and other unsavory activities, as well as to provide incentives to attract new businesses and residents to the city center. Of the 11 hotels that have shut down over the past few years, hoteliers estimate that most did so because the center?s overall decline was scaring guests away. Meanwhile, social unrest, riots and protest rallies that frequently shut down the city center have also had a negative effect on Athens?s image as a tourist destination.

Kathimerini?s research also found another 15 hotels for sale in other parts of the capital: four in Piraeus, three in Kallithea, two apiece in Vouliagmeni and Glyfada, and one each in Varkiza, Aghios Stefanos, Anixi and Legrena. The highest asking price among these is for a hotel in Piraeus, at 30 million euros. The total of the asking prices for the 15 units comes to 156.1 million euros.

According to representatives of the hotel sector, there are more hoteliers looking to sell today than in the past, while they also stress that the true number of units for sale is far greater than the specialized websites would suggest, as many owners use other channels to advertise their property.