Greece’s leftist-led administration has welcomed a decision by the country’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) to conditionally permit a major redevelopment project in Elliniko, south of Athens, saying it cleared the way for the transformation of the capital’s former airport.
During a press briefing Wednesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said a decision by KAS to declare part of the plot under the project of archaeological interest would protect the whole process from future litigation.
The recommendation will not restrict development on the plot, Tzanakopoulos told journalists, but only mean that archaeologists will have a closer supervision of construction work.
KAS, an advisory body, recommended on Tuesday that about 30 hectares of the 620-hectare plot under the project be declared an archaeological site.
Greek developer Lamda signed a 99-year lease with the state in 2014 for the site. Backed by Chinese and Gulf funds, Lamda submitted its detailed development plan for Elliniko in July, setting off a licensing process which will wrap up with a decree.
On Wednesday, opposition New Democracy accused the SYRIZA-led government of putting off investors and undermining the debt-wracked nation’s economic recovery.
“Mr Tsipras has to understand that growth is not something that can be dictated. He has to realize that with his logic it is neither possible to [attract] investments, nor to effectively protect [Greece’s] cultural heritage,” New Democracy spokesman Vassilis Kikilias said. He said the investment will create thousands of jobs and boost growth in the area south of Athens.