City Hall to prop up collapsing apartment blocks

The cash-strapped City of Athens is to dig into its coffers and pay for engineering work designed to prevent seven apartment blocks near Amerikis Square from collapsing after work to construct a shopping mall was abandoned.

Kathimerini understands that the municipal council approved the disbursement of 1 million euros to make the site safe. The property development company which owns the plot of land which the apartment blocks abut stopped construction work in May 2008 after digging the hole for the building?s 15-meter deep foundations.

Civil engineers have warned that the apartment blocks are in danger of collapse and that about 150 families who live there should move out of their homes until safety work is carried out. Residents have refused to leave.

?The municipality is moving to support residents since central government cannot solve the problem,? said Deputy Mayor Katerina Dori. ?However, we are still looking at the details of the decision since we are taking on great responsibility and we have to avoid legal complications.?

The municipality aims to complete the work within five months.