ECONOMY

Olympic properties up for lease

With the Galatsi Sports Hall delivered yesterday to its contractor, the myth of the unused and rotting Olympic installations can be put to rest, as the Olympic heritage this country has obtained is increasingly being utilized in a variety of ways. The cream of the 14 installations included in the portfolio of Olympic Properties SA is attracting the intense interest of the private sector, the main driving force in the property development market. After the first tenders for the badminton venue, the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) and the Galatsi Sports Hall, there are two new shopping centers and a new cultural-recreational venue. Real estate companies are interested because it’s difficult to find the right venues with the right amenities. The new owners of installations will receive them without any legal or town-planning issues pending, as Olympic Properties has pledged, which makes them even more attractive. The private sector is satisfied with the time schedules and the procedures of the tenders, although there is always the risk of too many properties with similar and highly competitive uses entering the market. «I hope the success of the Olympic Properties tenders does not bring about the destruction of the Greek commercial properties market,» said a high-level official of a major company. The management of Olympic Properties is especially satisfied with developments after the first three tenders. The bidding by many consortiums has secured the necessary competition, taking final bids to quite high levels. Both the offer by Lamda Development for the IBC and that of Sierra-Haragionis for the Galatsi Sports Hall were above the expectations of Olympic Properties. The progress of tenders and the choice of successful bidders also means good news for the state budget, as the estimated amount for the maintenance, operation and security of installations comes to 57 million euros per year plus VAT. One-third of this has now been covered by Olympic Properties with the three installations conceded. For the other installations, until a contractor is found, maintenance and operation will burden Germany’s Hoechtief for the next two years, for only 42 million euros. Hoechtief’s discount will provide the state with additional benefits. More tenders are under way concerning the long-term concessions of the beach volleyball stadium at Faliron, the Aghios Cosmas marina and the canoe-kayak installation. Next are tenders for the surrounding area of the Pankrition stadium in Iraklion, Crete, and for the operators of the Faliron Sports Hall, where the tae kwon do Olympic event was held, and for the shooting installation at Markopoulo. As for the rowing installation at Schinias, Olympic Properties has not decided yet whether it will invite expressions of interest, since the course’s proximity to archaeological sites may create several obstacles. Bids Three Greek and two French groups entered the first stage of the tender for the beach volleyball installation. They are Village Roadshow Operations Hellas, a consortium led by Everest, another led by GEK and the French groups Altarea and SEPI. A possible snag for the tender is the Municipality of Kallithea’s recourse to the Council of State, arguing that the law about use of properties on the seafront is unconstitutional. Olympic Properties expects the plenary of the Council of State to reach a final verdict in January. Interest is also generated by the canoe-kayak course. Four consortiums are continuing into the tender’s second stage, led by Village Roadshow, Intrakat, Audiovisual and GEK. The Aghios Cosmas marina, to be conceded for 35-40 years, has satisfied the high expectations of Olympic Properties, attracting 13 bidders in the first stage. Five have advanced to the second stage, led by GEK, Intrakat, Seirios, Waterfront and Emporiki Real Estate. Olympic Properties aims to accelerate the process to find a contractor, yet three companies filed appeals with one of them being successful, taking this case, too, to the Council of State. Contractors’ plans The badminton installation at Goudi, to be operated for the next 20 years by the consortium of Adam, Georgas and Kontoyiannis for 20 million euros per year, will turn into a 2,500-seat theater venue, in a project costing 6 million euros. The Galatsi Sports Hall is conceded for 40 years for 3 million euros per year at first, eventually reaching 4 million euros. Sierra-Haragionis intends to transform the installation into a multipurpose commercial and entertainment venue expected to cost 78 million euros and be ready by 2008. The IBC tender was won by Lamda Development, which offered 7.25 million euros per year for 40 years, to be revised according to inflation. The Latsis group company intends to create a modern 60-million-euro shopping center, with a gross leasable area of about 40,000 square meters.