Hard Rock-GEK TERNA Complex at Hellenikon to Make “Athenian Riviera” a Thrilling Reality

ΑTHENS – It’s much more than a casino. As Minister of Development and Investments Adonis Georgiades and Jim Allen, CEO of the global entertainment conglomerate of Hard Rock International (HRI), and Giorgos Peristeris, Chairman and CEO multifaceted company and construction giant GEK TERNA emphasized repeatedly on June 22, the Integrated Resort Casino (IRC) the two companies have undertaken to build at the long-abandoned Hellenikon Airport on Attika’s coast will be Greece’s entertainment gateway to the world, a world class magnet that will enormously boost Greece’s tourism product.

As the guests at the press conference in Zappeion Hall that introduced the joint venture and the architectural designs learned, the world class billion euro IRC is expected to open late 2025-early 2026. It will be a very important part of the 8 billion euro Hellenikon project, but it will also advance Greece’s long-term goal of making the county a year-round, not just a ‘sea and sun’ attraction. Its other important components include an exciting indoor-outdoor theater and a world class conference center, much needed in Athens. There will also be abundant restaurants, lounges, and spaces spotlighting Greek culture but also bringing the best of the world to Greece, as well as family and child oriented facilities HRI is also famous for.


The Hellenikon project was long been presented an emblematic investment for Greece, but the IRC can be called an emblematic part of Hellenikon because investors, Greek and non-Greek alike, saw it as a litmus test – whether or not the IRC moved forward was an sign that the country really wanted to welcome them and was truly emerging from the ashes of the financial crisis. On June 22, the message was: “the New Greece has arrived.”

Georgiades, representing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was out of the country, thanked all the guests but especially HRI “for taking this bold decision to participate in the Hellenikon project. It’s a very important day for Greece… it is virtually the number 1 project of our country.” Noting the process leading to that moment was very complex, he said, turning to the HRI delegation, “today we are doing what we should have done from the start. What we are building today will make history…this is a partnership of two top companies.”

Georgiades emphasized that the IRC will be visited by Greeks from all walks of life who will go to enjoy the live entertainment only Hard Rock can bring to the country. “It will be a space of joy and relaxation for all Greeks, giving them a taste of international night life.” After previously noting that GEK TERNA is involved in virtually every important project in Greece, he said if there is any company that can build it…it is HRI.”

Speaking briefly, Peristeris expressed his excitement about the project and thanked the public officials for their help, because, he emphasized, “it is important for Greek companies to participate in the country’s major projects.”

Allen was the most excited of all. After saying on behalf of HRI’s over 50,000 employees in 70 countries and the Seminole Tribe in Florida, “we cannot thank you enough for this amazing opportunity,” Allen provided an overview of both HRI and the IRC. He emphasized, “we are not a casino company, however, we’re very good  at that – and, candidly, the most profitable in the world in that category. We are about entertainment, and we are about giving back,” later highlighting HRI’s extensive philanthropic endeavors.

He then affirmed that the IRC “will create thousands of construction jobs. It will create over 3,000 permanent jobs from all walks of life.” Most importantly for the project and for Greece, HRI will use its marketing power to direct visitors to the IRC. “Over 140 million people on an annual basis visit Hard Rock locations…This year we will present 40,000 live events… One of the most important questions is how do we market this opportunity, this amazing location, on a global basis.” He then announced, “we now have a technology platform that unifies every customer that comes to any Hard Rock location in the world,” which they will deploy to draw people from all over the world to Hellenikon.”

The first renderings of the hotel tower that will be built by the Hard Rock International-GEK TERNA joint venture at the Hellenikon site on the Saronic Gulf promise thrilling views of Athens and its environs. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Sotiris Dimitropoulos)


Guests at the Zappeion witnessed the unveiling of the first drawings of the complex that will include a high rise luxury hotel of around 1,000 rooms and two setbacks and a roof deck with thrilling venues boasting spectacular views. Guests will feel they can reach out and touch the nearby mountains and beaches, the islands of the Saronic Gulf, and the Peloponnesos beyond. The theater, which will seat between 4,000 and 10,000 people depending on th event, promises near year-round concerts by the top performers in the world produced attracted by the global Hard Rock brand and the glories of Greece.

Indeed, some guests noted that after years of the name evoking smirks from Greece and foreigners alike, the ‘Athenian Riviera’ will finally become a reality thanks to the IRC.

The Emcees for the presentation were Angela Karageorgou, founder and CEO of On Point Communications, and Konstantinos Lambrou, member of the Board of GEK TERNA. A project of this magnitude has a lot of moving parts – and the honored guests at the Zappeion included some of those who were instrumental in moving it forward, including officials from Lambda Development, which is building the overall Hellenikon project, including the Metropolitan Park that will be one of Europe’s largest. Also present were Akis Skertsos, Minister of State responsible for the coordination of Government policies, Ioannis Oikonomou, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesman, Vasilis Kikilias, Minister of Tourism, and Costas Fragoyiannis, Greece’s Deputy Foreign Ministry responsible for economic diplomacy.

Greek-American Michael Karloutsos, HRI’s representative in Greece, told The National Herald, “this is something we’ve worked on for three years, but more importantly, the people of Greece have been dreaming about it for 20 years – ever since Hellenikon airport shut down and people walk and drive by and wondered what will happen there.”

All the speakers noted it took a lot of work, but sometimes – even in Greece – things happen because they make sense, and observers agree with Georgiades that the HRI-GEK TERNA joint venture will make history. On June 23 it was announced that voting on the fast-track bill ratifying the concession for the casino is scheduled for June 28 in Parliament.

Karloutsos added, “I’m happy to say that we’ve taken this monumental step – but really, no statement can do justice to what we will do in three years, when we actually open to the public and bring life to that place. Today is a great step and I’m very appreciative of the support the government, the Lamba Group, the Latsis family, and of course, our partner, GEK TERNA and Giorgos Peristeris. It all happened because of them – it’s really about bringing people who are well intended together and want to do something for the place that they love – Greece.”



ATHENS - If the Bank of Greece did not operate under the protection of the institutional framework of independence, after what happened in 2015, the country would have perhaps left the eurozone, Bank of Greece (BoG) governor, Yannis Stournaras, said on Saturday during the Kathimerini conference in a panel titled: "In the next 50 years, is Democracy safe?" Is Greece reformable?" "Who doubts that if it wasn't for the Bank of Greece, we might not be in the euro after the adventure of 2015?" he said.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Truck Driver Pulled to Safety After Crash Leaves Vehicle Dangling over Bridge Across Ohio River

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The driver of a semi-truck was pulled to safety Friday by firefighters following a crash that left the vehicle dangling over a bridge across the Ohio River.

Donald Trump has won Missouri's Republican caucuses, one of three events Saturday that will award delegates for the GOP presidential nomination.

ANAHEIM, CA  – The Minoan Dancers of Marin County, California, participated in the 47th Annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance & Choral Festival (FDF), held February 15-18 in Anaheim, CA.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska's official state sport, is set to get underway Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training on shared, multi-use trails.