Culture Ministry triggers Elliniko doubts

6 August 2016
831 Views

The Culture Ministry has written to other government departments to inform them that it has plans to declare the vast majority of the former Athens airport at Elliniko an archaeological site, which would complicate plans to develop the area.

It was only two months ago that Greece’s privatization agency, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), and Lamda Development signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the latter’s plans to develop the abandoned airport, which covers 6.2 million square meters. The deal was rubber-stamped a month later by the Court of Audit.

However, Kathimerini understands that the Culture Ministry’s General Directorate for Antiquities and Cultural Heritage wrote on Tuesday to several government departments, including the Defense, Infrastructure and Finance ministries, as well as TAIPED, to inform them that it plans to declare the area an archaeological site and list some of the buildings on the vast plot of land.

The Culture Ministry has requested that the other departments respond to its proposal within the next two months.

If the ministry goes ahead with its plan, the Greek government not only faces the prospect of the much-delayed privatization project, which was first agreed in 2014, being beset by more complications, but also the possibility that Lamda Development could seek damages from the Greek state.

Lamda has said the development of the site will immediately create 10,000 jobs and another 70,000 when the project, which includes the construction of apartments and a hotel, is completed.

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