Submitted bids a good start in the effort to develop Olympic venues

The management of Olympic Properties SA appears entirely satisfied with private investor response to the first three tenders to manage Olympic installations, that is, part of the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) next to the Olympic Stadium, the canoe and kayak slalom course at the Hellenikon sports complex and the badminton arena at Goudi. There are 10 prospective bidders for the IBC building and five for each of the other installations. Olympic Properties must now draw up a short-list for each case, taking into account the bidders’ experience with such projects, the viability of their proposals and, especially in the case of the sports installations, the way the proposals will affect the surrounding area and their accessibility to sports enthusiasts and the wider public. Tough competition When the deadline for the submission of bids passed last Monday, Olympic Properties’ Chairman Christos Hadziemmanuil was almost beside himself with joy, both for the number and the quality of the bidders, even though these bids were non-binding. «The companies that expressed interest for these particular installations guarantee a high-quality bidding process which will certainly benefit the properties themselves. Through their proposals – about which we will know more in about two weeks, when the technical documents are opened – we can ensure the best possible solution for the development of the installations. I should emphasize that these tenders will not necessarily go to the highest bidder,» Hadziemmanuil told Kathimerini. Hadziemmanuil is especially satisfied over the number of bidders for IBC, whose development (apart from the sections to be used as sports museums) is difficult, given the building’s size and specific design for use by broadcasters. Now, IBC is essentially a huge empty shell waiting to be shaped according to the resources and imagination of its future developer. The Broadcasting Center The IBC area available, with a floor area of 53,835 square meters plus a below-surface area to be converted into a parking space for up to 1,700 vehicles, is available for a 15-year lease in its totality or in parcels. Among the 10 bidders, three – private channel Antenna TV, electronics retailer Kotsovolos and toy retailer Moustakas – are interested in leasing only part of the available area, Antenna to build TV studios and the other two for setting up their own stores. The other bidders want to lease all the available area, either for their own use or for sub-leasing the space to third parties, preferably retailers. Of especial interest are the bids by Greek firm Lamda Development and the Sierra-Haragionis Greek-Portuguese consortium. The consortium, the only case where a foreign firm is taking part in the bid for IBC, is known to be an exclusive developer of shopping centers. From Lamda Development’s perspective, creating a big shopping center just a short distance from its own giant The Mall (due to open in November) is not exactly a welcome prospect. On the other hand, according to market experts, building an office complex, given the current lease rates, is also a prospect fraught with uncertainty. That is why they believe Lamda Development is only bidding to prevent Sierra-Haragionis – incidentally, its partner in a big commercial development in the Thessaloniki suburb of Pylaia – from going ahead with its own mall project. It is very likely that the bid winner will consider sub-leasing the space to one or more operators. In any case, the same market experts say, the participation of big construction groups in the bid (J&P Avax, Hellenic Technodomiki-Aktor) will make the final choice difficult. The slalom course The two strongest bids for the canoe and kayak slalom course are from Village Roadshow, operator, among others, of the Village Entertainment cinema and commercial complexes, and Hellenic Leisure Parks, operator of Allou Fun Park. Both consider the location ideal for the creation of a theme park and are prepared to invest at least 80 million euros. The present installation will still be used for its original purpose – as a sports venue.