ECONOMY

Post-2004 venue plans emerge

Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA) has made a down payment of 200 million euros to acquire two installations that will be used at the Athens Olympics, namely, the Sailing Center at Aghios Cosmas and the International Broadcasting Center (IBC), next to the Olympic Stadium. According to a decision by the economy, development and culture ministers, transfer of ownership of the installations will take place by February 29. Since the government was interested in plugging a gaping hole in the Olympics budget, the downpayment was made before the end of 2003. The two installations are transferred to ETA as part of the plan to find investors for their post-Olympics use. The installations’ valuation was made by American Appraisal and Kantor. The plan to develop Olympic installations has been opposed by the opposition parties, including conservative New Democracy. The opposition has also opposed any proposal to partly privatize ETA by listing the firm on the Athens Stock Exchange. (Last night, the listing was approved in Parliament by 147 votes for versus 129 against.) Olympic Properties (EOA), another firm set to develop Olympics installations after the Games, owns 12 of them. It will also look for partners in the private sector. Some of these installations, such as the Equestrian Center at Markopoulo, close to Athens’s airport, will need further works to make them attractive to private investors and maximize post-Olympics revenue. The annual cost of maintaining the Olympic installations – except for the main Olympic sports complex and the Peace and Friendship arena, which will remain state properties – is estimated at 40 million euros. It is a cost the State decided to rid itself of.