NEWS

Sites at Hellenikon and Aghios Cosmas have attracted lion’s share of interest

The Hellenikon sports complex and the Aghios Cosmas Sailing Center are the two venues that have attracted the lion’s share of interest from private investors: the former because the government has insisted on using a section of the old airport for residential development (as well as the creation of the Metropolitan Park), and the latter because it will be handed over to private interests for the construction of a marina. The bill presented on Wednesday, however, does not allow the erection of buildings on the site until a complete plan for the venue is approved. The buildings that accompany the canoe/kayak course will be ceded to shops and sporting goods stores as well as public gathering spaces, while the surrounding area will be given over to the construction of a sports theme park and a water park. Furthermore, the basketball and fencing arenas will see the operation of shops and restaurants, and the baseball, softball and hockey pitches will be used to host cultural events and other public gatherings. The Aghios Cosmas marina (which the Culture Ministry says will be among the biggest in the Mediterranean) will require significant construction to create all the necessary support services. After much government negotiation (with a dissenting Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works Ministry), it was agreed to allow the construction of a five-star hotel with 30 rooms, over an expanse of 1,400 square meters. The Aghios Cosmas complex has been separated into zones and several of these will host a significant number of businesses (except nightclubs), such as a petrol station, a municipal snack bar and cafe, yacht services, storage facilities and security posts. Temporary shelters for hosting exhibitions and yacht services have also been given the green light, while some areas have been designated for open-air cultural and sports venues, changing rooms and bathroom facilities, and areas for public gatherings. An exception Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia insisted that Aghios Cosmas is an exception because it is the only Olympic venue that will undergo such major additional construction work and she further stressed that the rest of the venues will be used only for their existing buildings and facilities.