A series of new hotel units have opened in the center of Athens recently, in a sign that investors believe in the prospects of a recovery of the industry, despite the adversities, at least from the end of the year onwards, with the help of expected vaccines to fight the coronavirus.
One of the bright new arrivals is the new Athens Capital Hotel - MGalery in Syntagma Square, the first of the relevant chain of the Accor group operating in Greece. The new hotel opened its doors September 1st, in an investment of 25 million euros by Lampsa SA. of the Laskaridis group. The property has been leased for a period of 30 years, following a tender held on behalf of the owner, ie the Mutual Aid Fund for former Agricultural Bank employees.
The historic property, which had functioned as a hotel when it was first built in the late 1950s (King's Palace), was then then turned into the headquarters of Agricultural Bank for several years. It is now returning to its original cause, reopening as a hotel, offering 177 rooms and suites.
At the end of June (about four months after the initial planning) there was also the inauguration of the Brown Acropol in Omonia Square. The new unit is the first of the Israeli chain Brown Hotels in Athens and offers 165 rooms. This is the former Acropol at the beginning of Piraeus Street, which is rented by the Michailidis family, with whom the group from Israel came to an agreement.
Brown has other positions around Omonia Square, which it plans to develop in the near future, depending on the course of the tourist recovery. For example, the company has agreed to take on the La Mirage Hotel on Marikas Kotopouli Street.
This is a building rented by Mr. St. Ioannidis, a businessman in tourism, who prevailed in a relevant development tender that ran a few months ago by the Real Estate Development Service of the Armed Forces. Apart from the center of Athens, Brown Hotels is also proceeding with the development of a large hotel in Sounio, continuing the search for new properties, if the appropriate opportunities arise.
In coming days, The Modernist in Kolonaki is expected to be inaugurated. This is a property acquired by Briq Properties AEEAP for 4.75 million euros. A few months ago, the Building Service of the Municipality of Athens approved the building's change of use, located at the junction of I. Gennadiou 4 and Ypsilandou streets. The Modernist is a new concept boutique hotel, which was developed in Thessaloniki a few years ago by a group of businessmen who wanted to offer a special experience in the hospitality industry.
The building has an area of 1,630 sq.m. and extends to six floors. Its history is also interesting, up until 2015 it belonged to the embassy of Canada. Embassy officials then proceeded with the decision to sell it in order to move to a more modern building.
The buyer was the Turkish tycoon, Ferit Sahenk, head of the Turkish group Dogus, who paid 4 million euros for the property. At the end of 2018, the Dogus group chose to sell the asset, as part of an overall exit strategy from Greece . What is interesting in this case is the fact that the initial plans for the operations of the property remain intact.
What has changed is Briq Properties' hotel real estate strategy. The management of the company has also acquired five hotels in Paros, Tinos, Corfu and Skiathos and has chosen to focus its investment strategy on other categories of real estate, especially logistics, given the decline in tourism.