Olympic venues gradually being utilized, ministers say

The venues and other buildings used during the Olympic Games two years ago increasingly are being utilized and bringing revenues to the state, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told a press conference yesterday. «Olympic installations are becoming productive, both in their economic and in their general social dimension. They remain public property, but without burdening the Greek taxpayers anymore,» said Alogoskoufis. To date, Olympic Properties SA has completed the tenders for three installations: the badminton venue at Goudi, the Sports Hall at Galatsi and the International Broadcast Center on Kifissias Avenue. Through them the state secures revenues of 11 million euros per year, which are set to rise to 14.3 million euros. «Already, with the first three contracts, we save 30 percent of the maintenance costs of the venues, as, in addition to the 11 million euros in leasings, we save 6.5 million euros annually from avoiding expenditure on those buildings,» explained Alogoskoufis. The maintenance, cleaning and guarding costs for all Olympic venues comes to 55.1 million euros, not including value-added tax. More state revenues will stem from taxing the activities developed in the venues leased, while the local authorities hosting them will receive a special tax of 2 percent of the turnover at those installations. Alogoskoufis said state income will grow significantly when the three ongoing tenders are also finished, concerning the Aghios Cosmas marina, the canoe-kayak installation at Hellenikon and the beach volleyball stadium at Faliron. Another six installations serve local and state needs, topped by the tae kwon do venue at Faliron which will become a conference center. «With the utilization of Olympic installations, the government attracts major private investments, while keeping the venues open for citizens through sports and culture events,» the economy minister said. «Since the Olympics, over 200 various events at Olympic venues have fetched revenues of 7 million euros, not to mention their cultural value,» stated Alogoskoufis. Voulgarakis, in turn, referred to the difficulty of the project, saying: «There had been no prior planning about what would happen after the Games and how the venues would be integrated into citizens’ everyday lives.»