An area larger than Monaco and once the epicenter of the eastern Mediterranean’s air travel, the old Hellinikon Airport property is set for a badly-needed facelift— thanks to the richest Greek in the world, Spyros Latsis.
Lamda Development, led by Latsis, has leased the space from the Greek government for 99 years. Lamda has created a consortium of Abu Dhabi and Chinese interests that will invest in the $9 billion dollar project that is expected to create almost 60,000 jobs and be completed by the year 2026.
Plans for the 65 million square foot land include one of the biggest parks in the world, top sports facilities, one of the largest aquariums in the world that will celebrate and preserve Greek oceanic life, an upgraded coastal front and a residential tower called “one of the tallest in the Mediterranean” by organizers.
See Lamda Development’s presentation here:
The architect tapped to develop the project is Norman Robert Foster, best known for his his work in football stadiums, museums and houses of parliament. Among Foster’s designs are such massive places as the Wembley arena, Barcelona’s stadium Camp Nou and the German Reichstag building.
Lamda’s chief executive Odisseas Athanassio told Euronews in an interview: “This project will put Greece on the global tourist destination map, as it integrates different uses. There are places in the world with big and beautiful parks, other places with access to beautiful seaside, others with a fantastic climate. Here we’ll have a combination of all three. We’re going to build the biggest and most modern aquarium in Europe, with a sea life museum, one of the biggest parks in Europe, at least one apartment tower that will be the highest in the Mediterranean.”
The Hellenikon Athens Airport closed in March 2001 and although some of the land was used for venues at the 2004 Olympics, the area remains an eye sore on prime Greek real estate with abandoned airplanes, crumbling buildings and old airport signs rusting in the sun.
Not everybody is happy about the plans. Some politicians say the developers are not paying enough for state assets on the 99-year lease. Opponents include Christos Kotzidis, the mayor of the local municipality of Hellenikon, which borders the land.
See Euronews report about the new project here: