ECONOMY

Experts push PPPs to spur city facelifts

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) can play a leading role in city facelifts, which can also help the property sector grow further, said Bill Kistler, president of the European branch of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in its first international conference held last week in Athens. Investment in city facelifts was the focus of the conference, organized by Wave Media Operations under the auspices of the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry. The event examined the international experience from PPPs in property development and how Greece can become a regional center of development for Southeastern Europe. Keynote speaker, D. Kenneth Patton, director of New York University’s Real Estate Institute, spoke about the blow which the business community and the office market in Manhattan suffered by the attacks on September 11, 2001. He also presented certain successful and not-so-successful cases of projects promoted through the method of PPP, stressing that the secret for the success of these projects is the right spread of investment risk between the state and the private investors. Well-known Greek criminal lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos explained to the conference the new legal framework created by the institution of PPPs, presenting the relevant legislation from 2005. The CEO of the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation (KED), Constantinos Gratsios, explained that the company «can become the executive body for developing and operating state real estate property through tenders and partnerships with the private sector.» He also announced that by the end of this month the company is going to invite expressions of interest by private parties for the use of the former military base at Gournes, at an area which covers 772,000 square kilometers, in the prefecture of Iraklion in Crete.