By T. Igoumenidi
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) company acting on behalf of international asset manager BlackRock is reportedly unwilling, in the present phase, to fulfill additional commitments requested by the relevant environment ministry, so that a major real estate project in Athens proceeds as planned.
According to sources that spoke with "N", the ministry wants the SPV, Artume, to purchase another 5,500 square meters of land next to the Academy of Plato archaeological site - which lies close to the spot where a new shopping mall is planned - clean it up and then turn it over the state.
The specific demand was reportedly not included in an initial MoU between BlackRock and Cabinet-level council for economic policy.
Artume is tasked with constructing and managing the new shopping mall (Academy Gardens) that will ostensibly be built on land now occupied by a closed spinning mill (Mouzakis mills) in an industrial district lying between downtown Athens and the port of Piraeus.
The project had been blocked twice by Council of State (CoS) rulings, while the current government defended its handling of the property investment by saying a recently completed draft presidential decree will clear the CoS hurdle.
In fact, relevant minister Giorgos Stathakis blamed the previous center-right government for sloppy licensing, which delayed the 350-million-euro project in the face of legal challenges.
With the issuance of the presidential decree, however, practically all licensing and regulatory matters appear settled.