KAS fails to reach decision on Elliniko investment

KAS fails to reach decision on Elliniko investment

An eight hours marathon meeting of the Culture Ministry’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) to determine whether any plots of the capital’s former airport at Elliniko, south of Athens, should be declared of archaeological interest ended without an agreement late Tuesday.

KAS members agreed to convene again after more details about the impact of the much-delayed development – which was conceded to a consortium of Greek, Chinese and Arab investors last year – are brought forth.

At the center of talks were a plan for the development of the plot and an independent study into the environmental impact of the project.

The council decided to discuss the matter even though an agreement between the Culture Ministry and Elliniko SA, the company set up to manage the project, has been approved by the Government Council for Economic Policy (KYSOIP).

Market experts indicated on Tuesday that a decision by KAS to declare the plot of archaeological interest could be the beginning of the end of the investment, a large project launched under previous administrations but dogged by obstacles and delays.

If KAS insists the plot is of archaeological interest, the investors may be forced to seek dozens of permits for each section of construction they wish to undertake on the site, experts say.

The latest hiccup follows an upset in May when the Piraeus forestry authority deemed that a 3.7-hectare portion of the Elliniko plot is woodland and as such cannot be built on.

An objection was lodged against the forestry authority’s decision and a final ruling is expected later this month.

If all the current obstacles are surpassed, the state hopes that investors will pay the first tranche of the 915-million-euro investment, a sum of around 300 million euros.

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