By T. Igoumenidi
Only one out of 10 major contractual conditions set by the consortium awarded the real estate concession at the Helleniko site, in order to commence the project, has been implemented by the state, according to a detailed memo released on Tuesday.
The consortium, called Hellenikon Global, is comprised of Athens-based Lamda Development, China's Fosun Abu Dhabi-based Eagle Hills.
The consortium listed the 10 conditions that must be fulfilled, mostly administrative licenses and ratification by various ministries, in order for the more than seven-billion-euro investment to finally proceed.
The Helleniko property redevelopment is billed as one of the biggest such projects in Europe and the Mediterranean basin, as well as a prominent memorandum-mandated privatization.
The timing of the announcement by consortium, moreover, comes amid reports that the relevant culture minister has signed a second decision / recommendation by members of the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) for the project's master plan and environmental impact study, but without commenting on the reservations expressed by the latter over the height of six proposed skyscrapers at the site.
Reservations expressed in KAS decisions are often utilized in subsequent legal challenges by opponents of projects and contracts, leading to delays.
The master plan submitted by the consortium foresees new buildings of up to 200 meters in height, components of the project that are judged as non-negotiable and as an intractable part of the investment's future profitability.
The project has been plagued by "red tape" and delays, with one portion of the one-time Athens airport already declared as entailing an "archaeological interest", while another tract of land was designated as "forestland" by a relevant forestry service, based on the fact that 1930s-era photographs showed a line of trees and brushland at the site.