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Greece begins redevelopment of old Hellenikon airport

Greece began work on the redevelopment of the old Athens airport at Hellenikon, marking the start of an enormous construction project that will transform the coastline south of the Greek capital into one of the world’s premier destinations.

The 600-hectare site – an area three times the size of Monaco – will be turned into a mixed-use complex of hotels, residences, offices, shopping centers and recreational facilities that will include a giant urban park encompassing roughly two-thirds of the area.

The €8 billion project is seen as the largest urban redevelopment project in Europe. Construction is expected to take at least 10 years, create 10,000 jobs during the building phase, 75,000 permanent jobs thereafter, and contribute 2.4% to Greece’s GDP.

The Hellenikon project will be a landmark development along the Athens Riviera – the roughly 50-kilometer coastline stretching from Athens to Cape Sounion – where several new projects are already transforming the waterfront.

Among them is the Renzo Piano designed Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, opened in 2016 in the Kallithea district and encompassing a 21-hectare park, the national opera and national library. Nearby, work began last year on the five-year long Faliron Bay Restoration Project, a roughly €200 million initiative to redevelop the waterfront next to the Niarchos Center.

Earlier this year, Greece completed the privatization of the Alimos Marina, the largest in Southeast Europe, and located halfway between Faliron Bay and the old airport at Hellenikon. Under the terms of the 40-year concession, at least €50 million will be invested in the marina over the next five years to transform it into a major tourism and recreational center.

The Athens Riviera has also witnessed the privatization and renovation in the beachfront suburb of Vouliagmeni of the landmark Astir Palace hotel, which was reopened in early 2019 as the first Four Seasons hotel in Greece. In nearby Glyfada, construction on the five-star Asteras Glyfada hotel complex is due to begin this year.

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