Industrial buildings that have seen better days get new lease on life

A number of industrial buildings along Pireos Street have already been transformed. The best are a credit to the city; others are at least no longer a blight. Most changes have been made with relative or absolute respect for the district’s historic character, such as the restoration of the gasworks (Gazi) and of dozens of buildings, of which the best examples are the Pavlidis chocolate factory, the School of Fine Arts, the Sykaridis textile factory, the Tavros abattoir, the Benaki Museum and the Greater Hellenism Foundation. On the southern side of the street, below the district of Tavros, the picture is not so pretty. The Culture Ministry has yet to move into the abandoned Tsaousoglou industrial site (near the Kifissou intersection) as planned. Yet there are some prominent listed buildings, such as the Elais olive oil factory, the CHROPEI textile school complex (although this is being eyed by major construction firms), the Harakoglou building (the former Varvaressos drinks-manufacturing plant) and the Ivi soft-drinks factory. The historic Sanitas factory building has been under repair for years by the Public Works Ministry but has yet to be finished. The Neo Faliron steam train station was one of the first buildings to be listed (when Melina Mercouri was culture minister). Finally, as part of the restoration of Athens’s historic center, the facades of 12 buildings along Pireos have been refurbished (and advertising billboards removed) between Omonia and Koumoundourou Square.