ECONOMY

Gov?t launches tender for Elliniko

After a long delay, the government launched on Thursday the major tender for the real estate project planned for the area of the old Athens airport at Elliniko, giving details of the plan even though the law regarding its terms has not yet been passed.

Potential investors will be allowed to build a minimum of 2.5 million square meters, which will occupy half of the plot (totaling some 5.25 million square meters), while the other half will remain free for green spaces and other uses. The plot that is up for grabs also includes the Aghios Cosmas Marina and the area?s sports facilities.

The state privatization fund (TAIPED), which issued the formal invitation for expressions of interest yesterday, set out two key conditions: Candidates will have to show an annual average of assets of 300 million euros in the last three years and that they have completed at least one similar construction project to that at Elliniko in the last 10 years, to the value of 700 million euros, plus value-added tax.

Market experts criticized the second condition, saying that it attributes a strong construction dimension to the Elliniko development, when the key point is that of funding, which preliminary estimates put at 2 billion euros. ?An investment company, while not being a construction firm, would be able to hire the world?s best builders,? one market professional said.

Regarding land usage, the only forbidden use for the plot is industrial. The plan allows for residential use, business parks, commercial use, tourism accommodation, recreation centers, health facilities and cultural and educational centers. Investors will be allowed to use or demolish almost all of the existing buildings on the plot if they want to, including the Olympic baseball and softball courts.

TAIPED managing director Costas Mitropoulos stated on Thursday that there are some 55 enterprises in the world that satisfy the conditions of the invitation of interest. On Tuesday he told Parliament that he expected four or five companies to bid.

Investors will have to submit their bids by the end of March and the winner of the tender will be selected by the end of 2012.