ECONOMY

Plans for post-2004 use of the Olympic Village are revised

Following a fruitless tender and a series of meetings, plans for the future development of the Olympic Village’s International Zone have been revised. During next year’s Olympic Games, the Olympic Village will host upward of 10,000 athletes and officials. Six months after the end of the Olympics, the period needed to make the required changes, the houses will be turned over to 10,000 lower-income workers, eligible for the purchase of their homes through the Workers’ Housing Organization (OEK) on very favorable terms. According to the government’s new plans, the International Zone is to be built at the State’s expense. There are no final plans, however, over post-Olympic development. The initial idea, which fell through with the tender, was to lease the 24-hectare area that comprises the International Zone for a period of 50-70 years to a private operator who would build on and develop it, while also bearing the burden of financing the project. This, plus the price required for the lease, found no takers. However, if OEK decides to revive the idea of a private investor, the project will provide a big challenge for any company, since the commercial use of the area would provide a certain client base of 10,000 – the people who will move into the Olympic Village – plus residents from several nearby municipalities, taking advantage of easy access through Attiki Odos and NATO Avenue. Potentially, this could be an important commercial and leisure hub. According to the revised plan, the International Zone will include two multipurpose buildings, three schools (for post-Olympic use), a clinic, a commercial zone, a fire brigade station and other facilities. The two multipurpose buildings will be the only permanent construction projects. The others will be prefabricated. During the Olympics, one building will include the Village’s operations center, an Olympic museum, a library, facilities for religious activities, national Olympic committees and security. The other building will include the athletes’ registration and hospitality centers, a second security center, offices, the waste-management facility and storage areas. After the Olympics, the first building will house the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration and the other, the Ministry of Labor. Small shops and service facilities will be built within the village, integrated with the housing area. After the Olympics, they will be turned over to the municipality of Acharnes, which in turn will auction them off to interested private operators. The initial plan also called for a shopping center, «temporary restaurants» and a green area with walking paths. A clinic, which would include an operations facility for light surgery, and a primary healthcare facility will occupy a 3,000-square-meter building. The three buildings that will eventually house the schools will be used as meeting points, snack bars and for video game and Internet facilities.