ATHENS – The $8 billion development of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport that was to be the crowning jewel in the so-called Athens Riviera renaissance could be stopped after the Greek company leading it said the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA thwarted the plans.
The Athens-based Lamda Development angrily referred to “four-and-a-half years of mockery” by the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is expected to be ousted in July 7 snap elections by the major rival New Democracy, whose leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said would give Hellenikon the green light in his first week.
But Lambda, working in a consortium with China’s Fosum and an Abu Dhabi company, said a last-minute Culture Ministry roadblock put up as Tsipras had promised that he – after long delays – would kick start Hellenikon, had now made the project “unsound.”
He didn’t say if it could be continued if New Democracy wins but Mitsotakis said he would lift obstacles and cut red tape that has held up the project for more than a decade, made worse under SYRIZA whose hard-core elements don’t want any major developments or foreign companies.
Lambda said the latest government impediments included Culture Ministry demands to sign off on licenses and take control, which Lambda said was a deal-breaker.