Athens marinas’ revamp

The new face of the five main marinas around the capital is expected to boost sea tourism in Greece when their renovation and modernization project is complete. Marinas in Attica were once typical examples of the run-down and abandoned Greek tourism product, with serious infrastructural deficiencies (fire safety, sewage system, adequate and secure refueling), posing serious threats to boats and their passengers. Collaboration with the private sector, through tenders proclaimed in 2002 by Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA), which participates with a 25 percent stake in each marina, should change the shape of a significant tourism niche, which is characterized by high-income visitors. Modernizing Attica’s marinas is an immediate need, at a time when competition from neighboring countries is intensifying. In central and southern Italy, the construction of new facilities is scheduled which will take mooring capacity there from 20,000 to 40,000 boats. In Sicily alone, the creation of 6,900 mooring slots is programmed by constructing a marina in every 30 miles. In Cyprus 2,800 berths have been created or planned, while in Barcelona another 2,800 berths will be created with three new marinas. Turkey, Croatia and Malta have also made a dynamic launch into the sea tourism market. Zea Zea marina is closely connected with the city of Piraeus, as part of it forms an entertainment spot. Its current capacity is 560 boats, which will rise to 660 when the investment plan is complete. It will also have restaurants, cafes, bars, a swimming pool and shops on a total area of 10,000 sq.m., including the administration building currently undergoing renovation. The winning contractor is Marines Attikis which is to manage it for 40 years; ETA retains a 25 percent stake in the company created. The renovation project budget stands at 16 million euros; 9 million of that has already been invested by the contractor. In September 2003, the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee asked ETA to ensure the accommodation of 50 boats for the Olympic Games, which would have lengthened the jetty by about 310 meters. Yet this provoked a strong reaction by local residents and the municipality of Piraeus, as well as by the archaeological service, which called for the protection of the antiquities at one of the docks. These reactions scotched the plans, while the consortium has committed itself to not erecting any new buildings for commercial purposes and to preserving the marina’s social character, since it will remain open to the public as a recreation area. Flisvos Flisvos marina’s capacity has risen from 180 to 300 boats. The project to upgrade and manage it for 40 years has been awarded to Lamda TechnOL Flisvos Marina, set up in 2002 by Lamda Development, Olympic Technical and ETA. The consortium will invest a total of 44 million euros in improving and expanding the overall infrastructure of the marina, which will include new jetties and tanks, large green spaces and a series of shops for marina users and local residents. More than half the mooring slots at Flisvos could host boats and luxury yachts exceeding 100 feet. Onshore infrastructure will cover an area of 4,000 sq.m. with spaces for stores, entertainment, restaurants and sports, plus installations for conferences and exhibitions. The stores (shipping items, mini-market, restaurants-cafeterias, medical center, pharmacy, banking services, post office, travel agency) and other essential auxiliary areas will be housed in a building complex along the marina. Alimos This is the largest marina for mid-sized boats in the Balkans, as after the completion of the investment plan its capacity would increase by 250 berths to over 1,000. Yet for the time being the investment program to upgrade the services provided and boost its capacity is in tatters. This was the great thorn in ETA’s side in its effort to cooperate with the private sector. Seven consortia participated in the tender for the operation and administration of the marina for 40 years. These were Saronic Marinas, Marines Attikis, Apollonia Marina Alimou, Alfa Hellenic Marines, Triaina Marinas, Limin Allimountos and the consortium of Gener, Alma-Atermon, Philippos Vryonis and Argos SA, which was the highest bidder. However, negotiations over ETA conditions (particularly the five-year guarantee for rentals and the provision of extra guarantees for capital by the winning consortium) did not bear fruit. A new tender is expected, with the investment plan by the contractor estimated to reach 30 million euros. Lavrion The marina at Lavrion, a developing area on the east coast of Attica, is a modern one, offering immediate access and safe and comfortable accommodation just a stone’s throw from Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. It will be operated by Olympic Marine for 50 years in a long-term contract between the firm and the Greek Public Real Estate Corporation (KED) in an area of 50,000 sq.m. The marina includes a complex of jetties with a total length of 2 kilometers, a mooring capacity for 680 boats between 25 and 100 feet long and a wintering capacity for 700 boats. Its onshore facilities include a cafeteria, a restaurant, a shipping items store and a mini-market. There are also spaces for hosting conferences and other similar events. The building to host the local Sea Sports Club is also ready. The administrator’s future plans include the creation of a large supermarket; contacts have been made with high-profile chains, but conditions are not considered mature enough for such a store inside the marina. Olympic Marine offers visitors power and water supply, a boat-refloating station, refueling on a 24-hour basis and a repair dock unit. SEF The marina next to the Peace and Friendship Stadium (SEF) at Neo Faliron is the last one to have been constructed in Attica, as it was completed only last year. It has a capacity for 275 boats and its creation bolsters the touristic character the Piraeus seafront has acquired with its Olympic projects, also offering another option for entertainment and recreation. This marina is under ETA’s administrative control, with operation processes still pending, the most likely being a tender for a long-term rental space.