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PM Mitsotakis at official inauguration of Hellenikon. (Photo by GIANNIS PANAGOPOULOS/EUROKINISSI)
ATHENS – On October 17 Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was present at the formal inauguration of the massive Ellinikon development that will include Metropolitan Park southeast of Athens, declaring that a new era has begun for the coast, the Attica region, and Greece.
The project is unprecedented in Greece and one of the largest in Europe, he said, also taking pride in his own government’s moving forward a development that had been bogged down for years by outdated bureaucratic and political mindsets and processes – the Ellinikon airport which had occupied the site closed in 2001
“We are now turning towards the future,” he said, adding that “economic prosperity must follow in step with social cohesion, so that the benefit is spread” to the entire Athens-Piraeus metropolitan area.
According to a recent report by tornonews.gr “the project is running ahead of schedule, all the properties during its first phase have been sold, and there are no pending issues.”
Mitsotakis noted that Ellinikon project will not merely create wealth – he announced there would be over 70,000 new job openings, and provide an impetus to dozens of Greek production sectors, while estimates show it will attract an additional 1 million visitors to the area. It will also provide a model of sustainable development for the entire region while preserving all antiquities, which will be incorporated into the park.”
He said, “all these confirm the resilience of the Greek economy in the midst of a globally uncertain landscape, with the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. Despite obstacles, large projects in Greece are moving ahead,” he underlined. “The Greek people are under hardship but are mature enough to understand the scale of the challenge, and feel that the government is by their side. As it has happened up to now, this global difficulty will turn into a national success.”
Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis noted recently that the Ellinikon project is an investment that shows that “Greece is truly a different country today, not only in terms of governance but in terms of a substantial change which has taken place at the core of Greek society.”
While the Greek economic crisis forced the authorities to scrap initial plans to turn the old airport into Europe’s largest urban park in favor of a smaller – but still impressive – park, the site will be a mixed-use development of luxury high-rise apartments and hotels, commercial space, a marina, and a casino.
While it is unclear if there will be direct access from the park to the sea, a major part of the project will be the placing Posidonos Boulevard underground.
The first phase, which is expected to be completed by 2006, will include a residential tower and a retail and dining galleria. Later, a sporting complex and a marina will be constructed.
The billion dollar Integrated Resort Casino (IRC) ‘Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Athens’ will be built as a joint venture by Hard Rock International and GEK Terna. It will feature a tower with spectacular views of the sea and nearby islands as well as the mainland from the Attika region to the Peloponnese. The large Hard Rock indoor-outdoor theater will become Greece’s international entertainment gateway, attracting top musicians from all over the world.
“The Ellinikon city reflects a new paradigm of living, working and enjoying life by the sea,” the CEO of Greek real estate holding company LAMDA Development – the developer for the project – Odisseas Athanasiou told Robb Report.
For decades, Greek-Americans have been told that the coast of the Saronic Bay south of Greece’s capital is called ‘the Athenian Riviera’ – prompting responses like “seriously?” With recent projects like the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and future developments like Ellinikon, the grand park along Faliron Bay, and more, however, that moniker will no longer elicit smirks.
The world class and beloved Athens Metro will ‘touch the water’ at several points, from Glyfada and the SNFCC reportedly within seven to ten years, and the beach at Kalamaki later on. The Metro stations that opened just last week are also part of bright future for a strip of sand and sea that extends from the port to legendary Cape Sounion.
Connected with the positive developments on the beaches and also vital to Greece’s economic future are the Skaramangas and Elefsina Shipyards, which Georgiades said would reopen in 2023.
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