NEWS

Battle over Athenogenous Mansion

Three-quarters of 52 Stadiou Avenue belongs to the Historical and Ethnological Society. By a French architect (an entire body of literature has sprung up on him, but that does not concern this article), the Athenogenous Mansion was erected around 1880 and housed, among others, the Ottoman Bank, one of the most important financial institutions of the era. Today, it is in a dire state: Apart from the aesthetic aspect, the smell often becomes nauseating. Nor does leftover scaffolding inspire confidence. At the beginning of the 1990s, the Historical and Ethnological Society attempted to renovate the mansion. An architectural study by Alexandros Kalligas provided for the restoration of the existing building and the erection of an eight-story building on the rest of the plot of land. The scheme triggered protests and brought in then-Culture Minister Stavros Benos, who hastened to declare the Athenogenous Mansion a listed building with the result that the plan foundered. After this, the other owners took the society to court to force it to sell the land. The case was recently tried by the Supreme Court and a decision is expected in the next few months.