Opposition to a large hotel in the heart of Kolonaki

Only the Athens zoning authority is able to prevent the imminent destruction of historic buildings on the Kolonaki site of the former Military Hospital 401. The Church of Greece, which owns the property, wants to demolish the buildings to make way for a 750-bed hotel for the 2004 Olympics. The Public Works Ministry has approved the demolition, despite an official 1994 report advising that the existing buildings be listed for conservation. However, the authorities are insisting on squeezing a giant structure into an already crowded area that will not only wipe out one of the few leafy areas in the neighborhood but create even greater traffic chaos than there already is. Local residents and the Lycabettus Association have turned to the justice system to have the demolition order annulled. They say that apart from the historic value of the buildings themselves, there are other reasons they disagree with the construction of large buildings in the area. There are already three hospitals in the surrounding area; the navy and army (NIMTS) hospitals and Evangelismos. The nearby Athens Concert Hall is being extended, as is the Elena Maternity Hospital, and there is construction under way on the grounds of the Genadeios Library. All of the above contravene a ruling by the zoning authority in 1994 that provides for an increase in the amount of open public spaces in the area. The buildings in question date from 1881 and were originally designed for use as a military academy for non-commissioned officers. In 1897 they were converted into a hospital, renamed Military Hospital 401 in 1904, and used as such until 1971. Palaio Faliron council weighs in

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