Demolition work at the site of the former Athens international airport in the area of Hellenikon is set to start by mid-June with some 450 building structures set to go down after getting the clearance was given by the Finance Ministry.
Sources indicate that a contract between Lamda Development, which is in charge of the multi-billion euro development, is expected to sign an agreement in coming days with Intrakat, which will undertake the first demolitions.
The positive developments in regards to the project, however, come at a time when the pandemic, with its known effects on tourism, raises doubts about the wider scope of the project. At the same time, there are outstanding judicial issues regarding the casino permit to be issued as Hard Rock appears determined to continue appeals in its bid to clinch the license. It recently filed a major appeal with the Council of State, the country's top administrative court, threatening to appeal to the European Court of Justice, despite losing legal battles so far.
For demolition work to proceed, the government proceeded a few weeks ago with a legislative regulation legalizing all buildings and facilities at Hellinikon. This way, the government sidestepped complex legislation on illegally built structures that would have further held up proceedings.
Positive rulings from the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), the Central Council of Modern Monuments (KSNM), and the Central Council of Architecture (KESA) have also been issued on the buildings that were mainly for the purposes of the former airport.
The management of Lamda Development, which today is called upon to also manage the effects of the pandemic on the three malls it manages, had presented a detailed plan for Hellinikon at the end of last year when it raised about 650 million euros via the Athens Stock Exchange and significant amounts of additional funds from banks to proceed with the investment.