Lamda Development announced yesterday that it will proceed normally with investment plans to build two shopping centers at the Hellenikon complex, one on the side of Vouliagmeni Avenue and one at the Aghios Kosmas marina. However, other similar investments in shopping malls are being put on ice. China's COSCO is freezing a new shopping center scheduled to be built on the new cruise ship pier at the port of Piraeus (OLP) as part of a master plan that had been heavily opposed before being approved.
In a bid to get the master plan passed the Port's Planning and Development Committee (ESAL), the Chinese were forced to accept that the mall would be built before passport control on the cruise pier. In other words, it will only target tourists. And tourists do not seem to be coming in this year, while the fate of the cruise ship industry next season is also unknown.
Plans by the Chinese to build four luxury hotels in the port of Piraeus are also being pushed back due to the pandemic and the emergency conditions created in world tourism.
Cosco's investment program at OLP, based on the first master plan, reached 612 million euros. The Chinese have increased the promised investment to one billion euros, by adding a fourth container pier and expanding the car terminal. With the new pier, the Chinese group will strengthen the port's capacity to more than 10 million containers (TEU), a size corresponding to volumes recorded by northern Europe's strongest ports.
Piraeus is already the largest port in the Mediterranean in terms of container management. The OLP concession agreement, approved by parliament in 2016, obliges the organization to invest 293.7 million euros.
These investments needed to have been completed by 2021 so that Cosco could then acquire the remaining 16 percent of OLP's shares, in addition to the 51 percent it acquired in August 2016 for 280 million euros. This is unlikely to occur, with the Chinese side blaming delays on licensing and bureaucracy delays.