ATHENS – Construction on the long-delayed 8-billion euro ($8.74 billion) development of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport on the Greek capital’s coast hasn’t even begun but the New Democracy government said the state will back ownership of the major projects there once licenses for their operation expire.
That included a casino, the license under contention being given to Connecticut’s Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, a marina, marina hotel and hall and six other plots set to include another hotel, said Kathimerini in a report.
The state will also hold on to all public spaces and parks, including the metropolitan park that will cover an area of two square kilometers (0.77 square miles,) based on negotiations between the government and the developer, Greece’s Lamda.
Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, serving as the representative of the state, had been targeting the project’s tourism infrastructure from the start of the talks, the paper said, with the state eager to take back likely lucrative projects for one of Europe’s biggest developments.
“The strengthening of tourism, which is the country’s ‘heavy industry,’ has been the strategic objective of the minister in the negotiations, which was a real case study for gaming theory,” a source who wasn’t identified told the paper.
When the concession period expires, the areas of the agreed-upon designated plots will revert to the state and any buildings on them will also come into the state’s possession 99 years after the concession begins.
That means the marina’s hotel, the casino and any other property on those areas cannot be sold off by the investor over those 99 years, unless the buyer agrees to acquire only the surface right and return the assets to the state upon the expiry of the concession – or unless the state consents and enters the transaction itself.