Central Athens, the city’s southern suburbs and Piraeus are expected to be the main locations of the next generation of shopping centers planned for the broader capital region by the end of the decade.
This concerns total investments that may exceed 1 billion euros and would have already opened for business were it not for the usual red tape and the extension of the financial crisis since early 2015 due to political and economic uncertainty. What is most significant about the mall investments is that they will see foreign investment funds play a leading role.
The most mature plan concerns the Academy Gardens mall at Akadimia Platonos, western Athens, being developed by Artume, a subsidiary of US group BlackRock. Early last week the Council of State approved a presidential decree on the property’s construction terms, so the 300-million-euro investment is now heading for the building permit stage, expected toward the end of 2017.
REDS will launch open the new mall it is creating on a 315,000-square meter plot at Kantza, eastern Attica, within 2020. The listed company’s management says it is expecting to get town-planning approval, adding that it foresees the shopping center opening three years after it gets the building permits. The 220-million-euro investment may well have a foreign investor participating.
A major commercial venture is being planned at the Elliniko property that the consortium comprising Lamda Development, Eagle Hills (of Abu Dhabi) and Fosun (China) is preparing. In the investment’s first stage, alongside the metropolitan park and infrastructure works, plans include a large shopping center, the first of its kind in the southern suburbs. If the necessary permits are issued in the next few months (which appears optimistic at this point) the new mall will be able to start operating around 2021.
Alpha Bank is pushing for the completion of a mall that Babis Vovos had started at Votanikos, western Athens, and railway real estate company GaiaOSE has set in motion the utilization of the old terminal station in Piraeus for the development of a 40,000 sq.m. mall worth some 70 million euros.
Investors are turning to malls due to their high occupancy rates, just as 30-40 percent of high street stores have closed, and their relatively stable rental rates, which last year rose by more than 5 percent.