A final joint ministerial decision on the privatization of the Hellinikon complex in southern Athens is expected to be approved on Friday, marking a milestone for the execution of the delayed project.
The decision is seen as paving the way for the tender of the casino to be built on the urban complex in an investment amounting to a game changer for the construction sector, pitting two of the industry's larger players against each other: GEK TERNA and Intrakat.
Three of the four joint ministerial decisions needed to free up the eight billion euro project have already been issued, while the Environment and Energy Ministry have essentially completed preparations on the fourth one.
According to ministry sources, the proceeding of the investment is a top priority for the ruling conservatives. The ministerial decisions needed to clear the project have been overdue since October last year, highlighting weaknesses in the Greek state when it comes to implementing investments, sources add. The current government has picked up the pace on the urban seaside complex with Friday's ministerial decision relating to building zones.
This will now allow for the crucial step of completing the tender of the casino that has been set for October 4, according to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Greece will immediately then receive a 300 million euro payment on the investment that is being led by Lamda Development, with construction on the site likely to start in early 2020.
Meanwhile, the construction companies are gearing up for the tender of the casino. The value of the casino deal could approach one billion euros and amount to a game-changer for the industry. GEK TERNA has hooked up with the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment Group (MGE) on the casino bid while Intrakat is working with Hard Rock International.
Based on the master plan, the casino and luxury hotel that will be built with it will be accommodated in a 45 story tower that will be 200 meters above sea level. It will be located near the marina that will be to accommodate 337 boats.
Additionally, the Integrated Resort Casino (IRC), that Lamda Development has envisioned, includes an aquarium (one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in the eastern Mediterranean), exhibition and conference venues, a theme park, recreation and food areas, along with shopping and sports facilities. The target is to draw hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors on an annual basis, including high-income tourists.