ECONOMY

Western Attica enters the fast lane of projects before the Olympics

The region of western Attica is currently undergoing a spectacular transformation of infrastructure facilities – planned to be ready before next year’s Olympic Games – that include road arteries, rail links, land reclamation projects and sewage treatment plants. The widening and reconstruction of the Aspropyrgos-NATO avenue, joining Ano Liosia to the industrial district of Aspropyrgos, Magoula and the Thriasio Hospital is one of the most important projects, particularly as it is linked to the Attiki Odos highway from Athens airport to Elefsina. It is budgeted at 15.5 million euros. Another is the western Aegaleo circular road, linking Attiki Odos, the Athens-Corinth highway and the Schistou-Skaramanga Avenue leading to Piraeus. It is expected to significantly improve access to the port and the neighboring urban districts of Nikaia, Keratsini, Perama, Haidari and Aegaleo from Attiki Odos and vice versa, and therefore, to and from the airport. The project has a budget of 21.51 million euros and construction, which is running within schedule, is expected to finish by January. An important complementary project is the northern link between the Thriasio plain with Fyli at the foot of Mount Parnitha, providing speedier access from the area to western Attica’s Thriasio hospital and the Athens-Corinth highway and relieving traffic congestion to Athens. Another Olympics-related project involves extensive landscape improvement work in the area of Lake Koumoundourou in Aspropyrgos and the access roads to the wrestling center in Ano Liosia. It includes the segment of the Athens-Corinth highway from Dafni monastery to the Aspropyrgos intersection, and involves recreation areas and the removal of unseemly billboards. The 2.94-million-euro project is scheduled for completion in April 2004. According to real estate agents, the transformation of western Attica is expected to boost interest in the local real estate market, which to date has been characterized by limited new home construction and weak demand for both office and residential properties. The chronic town-planning problems in the Mesogeia area in eastern Attica, which has virtually monopolized interest in the last four years, are expected to contribute to such a development by partly shifting demand to the upgraded western district. Such a prospect is confirmed by planned investments in entertainment projects in the area which have been poignantly absent to date. Hellenic Technodomiki construction firm is building an 11-million-euro, 1-hectare entertainment and recreation complex in Ilion, projected for completion in the first half of 2004. Firms that have already signed leasing contracts are Ster Cinemas, of the Vardinoyiannis group, Goody’s Flocafe and Pita Pan. The Ano Liosia municipal authority is also planning to develop an entertainment park, including extensive recreational facilities. The project has attracted interest by cineplex group Village Roadshow, which has been considering the creation of a theme park somewhere near Attiki Odos; no decision has been made yet.