Railways to develop properties

GAIAOSE, the recently founded real estate subsidiary of Hellenic Railways (OSE) will soon choose private investors to develop the new Piraeus Central Railway Station, its managing director said yesterday. Speaking at a conference on «Commercial Uses of Modern Railway Stations,» GAIAOSE Managing Director Giorgos Tsoukalas said that the SPAP, the Piraeus terminal for Peloponnese-bound trains, housed in a dilapidated structure right next to the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway terminal, would be extensively refurbished to serve as a hub for trains to all destinations in Greece and as a terminal for the planned Athens suburban railway. It will also serve as a transfer point to and from the ships at the nearby maritime terminal. Tsoukalas said that GAIAOSE will create a private company in which it will own a majority stake, with the property developers being the minority shareholders. «The number of passengers that will go through the station is enough to sustain investments similar to those undertaken for commercial and business centers as well as to help upgrade the urban area,» Tsoukalas said. OSE has, so far, neglected to develop its huge property portfolio, the second largest in Greece, following that of the Church of Greece. It is estimated that the total actuarial value of the portfolio exceeds 2 billion euros. Similar development projects will take place in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities. Massimo Paglialunga, head of international development of Grandi Stazioni, the Italian railways’ property development subsidiary, said that the development of several stations had brought his company profits of 15.5 million euros in 2001 on a turnover of 133 million. GAIAOSE recently signed a memorandum of cooperation with Athens 2004, the Olympics organizers, to build a 45,000-square-meter storage facility west of Athens, near the Attiki Odos. The facility will include a parking lot for 4,200 cars and 300 buses. From there, spectators and officials will be able to board buses to attend events at nearby locations, such as the weightlifting arena in Nikaia and the wrestling and tae kwon do arena in Ano Liossia.