A long-delayed agreement for a radical overhaul of the downtown Athens district of Votanikos, with the addition of a park and a 40,000-seat soccer stadium, was signed in Athens on Friday.
The 72-million-euro stadium project will be bankrolled by the ministries of Finance and Development & Investments – efforts will also be made to induct it into the EU Recovery Fund – while proceeds from its operation will be distributed between the Greek state and the City of Athens. The stadium will be leased for 99 years to the capital’s Panathinaikos soccer club.
The agreement was signed at Athens City Hall by Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Panathinaikos club representatives Yiannis Alafouzos and Panagiotis Malakates for the amateur club, Attica Regional Governor Giorgos Patoulis and Alpha Bank CEO Vassilis Psaltis on behalf of the two banks that own (Alpha and Pireos) a half-built mall that is a key part of the urban rejuvenation scheme.
Under the timeline agreed in the memorandum of understanding, all the necessary studies for the construction of the soccer stadium and the grounds for Panathinaikos’ amateur club will be completed by June 31, 2021, to be followed by the remainder of the studies pertaining to the project. The environmental and construction licenses for the stadium project should be issued by the end of November 30, so that work can begin in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Georgiadis hailed Friday’s signing as a “success story,” adding that it will endow the residents of the Greek capital with a new much-needed park, the soccer club with modern facilities and the state and municipality with an important source of revenue.
“Step by step, Athens is tying up the loose ends of the past. Ambitious growth projects for the city that have been in drawers for decades are being put on the path of creation and completion,” Mayor Bakoyannis said.