NEWS

Leasing schedule for venues between now and October

Procedures for the long-term lease of all venues will be launched by the fall. The government is in a hurry to complete preliminaries given the annual 100-million-euro cost of maintaining the sites. Bids have already been invited for three of the venues, but the authorities are hesitant, faced with difficulties arising from current market conditions and the lack of any provision for post-Olympic use when the venues were originally sited. Three competitions are currently under way and final bids are expected in mid-September for the International Broadcasting Center, the badminton arena in Goudi, and the canoe-kayak course at Hellenikon. By that time, other bids will have been called for the Faliron Olympic Complex (the tae kwon do and beach volleyball stadiums), the Galatsi stadium and the Hellenikon fencing hall. The third and final wave of competitions comes at the end of September, including the Aghios Cosmas sailing center, which is considered to be among the cream of the crop for private investment. In the meantime, the state must continue to bear the cost of maintaining and operating the installations. The state must also pay for the renovation of the Ano Liosia Olympic Center, which is to house cultural academies and schools and the National Audiovisual and Digital Archives. The Olympic Stadium (OAKA) and Peace and Friendship Stadium will continue to be funded by the state, although revenue from these venues is expected to rise. Not many changes are to be made at OAKA, apart from the conversion of some installations into shops and restaurants. Architect Santiago Calatrava’s famous arched plaza is to be used as an «Olympic Walkway» open to the public. The Culture Ministry is expecting a show of interest from private investors in developing venues such as an ice rink, which at the moment Athens does not have. However, the potential profitability of an ice rink is unknown. The government’s draft law states that the Markopoulo equestrian center is to be used as a golf course, equestrian center and theme park, although here also there are reservations regarding the amount of investor interest, particularly in the hotel provided for in the bill. At the nearby shooting range, shops will be added for the sale of related sporting goods, along with restaurants and visitors’ accommodation. The state will be footing the bill for the continued maintenance of the site. International Broadcasting Center. According to the call for tenders, part of the building will house two museums (the Greek Olympic Games Museum and Classical Athletics Museum) for which competitions are to be announced within the next few weeks. According to sources, a television station has expressed an interest in leasing part of the building set aside for commercial use. Another 45,000 square meters are expected to attract interest from department store chains. Canoe-kayak course. It is believed certain that this site, at the former Athens airport, will be used as a water park or other theme park. The government has decided to give preference to any offer that permits the continued use of the course for world championships. The use of the rest of the Hellenikon site depends on the goverment’s final decision on a metropolitan park, since part of the old airport will be given over to housing development. Aghios Cosmas. The Olympic sailing marina (which the Culture Ministry says will be one of the largest in the Mediterranean), requires several auxiliary buildings to be constructed. After several weeks of discussion and opposition from the Environment and Public Works Ministry, a 1,400-square-meter, 30-bedroom, five-star hotel is to be allowed on the site, which is to be divided into zones. Some of these zones will have a gas station, a canteen, storerooms, facilities for servicing boats, prefabricated structures and outdoor areas for the public, including areas for cultural and sporting activities, changing rooms and public toilets. Faliron complex. The tae kwon do stadium is to become a conference center, which requires some renovation, to be paid for out of the state budget. The rest of the Faliron complex is to include an ecology park, a track for field events and a stadium for team sports as well as auxiliary structures. The Faliron complex will be divided into three or four separate competitions. The old racetrack will be turned into a park and the marina next to the Peace and Friendship Stadium will become a national sailing center, with installations for pre-existing sailing and fishing clubs. The open beach volleyball stadium will continue to be used for concerts.