Olympic bids begin

The Culture Ministry has decided to call two tenders for the maintenance of former Olympic venues and expects bids to be submitted by August 28. The bids will be worth a total of 43 million euros, almost equally divided for the two groups of installations. The first group includes several indoor arenas, in Galatsi (site of the table tennis and rhythmic gymnastics competitions in the 2004 Games), Ano Liosia (wrestling), Nikaia (weightlifting), Hellenikon (basketball and fencing), Faliron (tae kwon do), the beach volley stadium, the Faliron marina, the Aghios Cosmas Olympic center, the Schinias rowing center, the International Broadcasting Center and the Main Press Center. The second group includes the Equestrian Center at Markopoulo, the Goudi complex, with the modern pentathlon installations and the badminton arena, the baseball, softball and field hockey stadiums at Hellenikon, as well as the canoe/kayak slalom installation at the same place, the three soccer stadiums in Patras, Volos and Iraklion, Crete, and the grounds (not the athletic facilities) at the main Olympic complex in Maroussi. The bid winners will be responsible for maintenance of the grounds and their daily operation, but not any commercial operations. Candidates must have a turnover of over 20 million euros and employ at least 100. Small enterprises have reacted angrily to the plan, asking for separate tenders for each venue and arguing that, under present conditions, they can only bid as subcontractors with very small profit margins. However, the government is adamant, because it believes overall maintenance costs would escalate otherwise. Maintenance is an essential but ultimately a small part of the post-Olympic management of Olympic venues. The real excitement is over long-term leases for commercial use. At present, there are three tenders under way for long-term leases. They involve part of the International Broadcasting Center, the badminton arena at Goudi and the canoe/kayak slalom installation at Hellenikon. The deadline for bids is September 12. Tenders are being prepared for the sailing center and the other installations at Hellenikon. The IBC tender involves an area of 53,000 square meters. The same building, apart from the commercial uses, will include the Museum of Greek Olympic Games and the World Athletics Museum, which will be built by the government, with the help of EU funding. The tender allows potential investors in the commercial functions of the buildings to bid either for the whole area or for chunks as small as 3,000 square meters. Officials consider that a bid for the whole surface on offer is difficult. That will complicate the leasing contract, which will likely be for 15 years, as the needs of all bid winners will have to be taken into consideration. The canoe/kayak tender favors those who will maintain the sports installations, besides the expected leisure activities, such as a water park. despite this restriction, there has been considerable interest from potential bidders.

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