Abandoned airport to become €7 billion major coastal resort in Athens
A Greek development company wants to turn an abandoned airport complex, currently used as a makeshift migrant camp in Athens, into a coastal resort envisaged to be one of the largest in Europe.
At one time Hellinikon was the only airport in the Greek capital city, serving 13.5 million passengers every year.
The Daily Telegraph reports that it was closed in the run up to the 2004 Athens Olympics to create a modern hub for the Games.
However, it has been let go ever since as a number of redevelopment plans failed to materialise.
Now Lamda Development, a major leisure operator, wants to invest it's €7 billion (St£5.9 billion) to transform the crumbling site with rusting airplanes into a modern seaside town by building residences, shops and hotels.
Lamda’s chief executive, Odisseas Athanassiou, described his company’s project as “a game changer” for the area.
He also stressed that the massive coastal resort would alter the psychology of foreign investors towards his country.
Despite political instability and a prolonged economic downturn in Greece, the country’s tourism industry has continued to baffle experts with its strong performance. Last year a record level of holidaymakers – 23.5 million entered the country. The Hellinikon site is about three times the size of Monaco and it is envisaged that the new plans for the 1530 acres will significantly bolster the tourism sector. The financing of the coastal resort is being supported by a Chinese conglomerate Fosun, while an Abu Dhabi-based company is also set to be involved with other international investors.
Lamda’s plan is to invest some €1.5 billion on infrastructure including roads. After that, it intends to inject €5.5 billion in the building of 8000 homes, shops, hotels and 494-acre park. The 3000 migrants and other refugees from Asia and the Middle East will be moved by the government from Hellinikon to other sites in Greece. It is envisaged that construction work will begin in early 2017 and most of it will be completed within three years.