By V. Vegiri
Roughly 30 properties in the center of Thessaloniki, and in the greater metro area, have been purchased by Israeli interests over the recent period, mostly by funds eyeing tourism-related commercial exploitation.
In statements to "N" last week, the president of Thessaloniki's realtors, Angelos Pasalidis, said the purchases of properties by Israeli-controlled funds center on unused residences or entire buildings, including ones with shop space at the ground level and without.
The majority of the properties are located in the northern Greece metropolis' historic center, but also in the vicinity of the City Gate shopping mall.
According to reports, practically all of the properties are destined for boutique hotels and small suites for lease.
According to Pasalidis, interest by investors from neighboring Balkan investors and Turks is easing, with the slack more than picked up by west European buyers, especially funds controlled by Israeli interests.
"...because they're seeing a city of opportunity, especially in tourism, and not the well-known emotional and historic ties to Thessaloniki, which was the case up until now," he said.
For some four centuries Thessaloniki was the world's largest and most vibrant center of Sephardi Jewry.