ATHENS – A subsidiary of the American investment giant BlackRock said it will not buy extra land, clean it up and turn it over the state as the government has demanded before allowing a mall to be built near the ancient site of Plato’s Academy.
Artume officials said they will not go along with the government’s additional mandate for a project already stalled a decade over constant bureaucratic delays and foot-dragging by agencies who must also put their imprimatur on the development.
The Environment Ministry told the company it must purchase 5500 square meters of land next to the academy site in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and spruce it up and give it to the state as a gift, the business newspaper Naftermporiki said.That was not part of the original deal.
The mall is being designed for a spot on land occupied by a closed spinning mill (Mouzakis mills) in an industrial district lying between downtown Athens and the port of Piraeus.
The project had been blocked twice by Council of State (CoS) rulings, but the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, which has elements trying to block private developments by foreign companies said a coming Presidential decree would let it proceed – although the new demand could halt that.
Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis, who is blocking a gold mine project in northern Greece, said previous governments were to blame for delays around the Plato’s Academy project, a common complaint by SYRIZA officials who won’t accept criticism or blame.