One of the most emblematic deals to exploit state assets in Greece in recent memory by the private sector reached a long-awaited "money changing hands" threshold on Friday, with the country's privatization fund transferring land rights for the coastal Helleniko site to a developer's subsidiary.
The privatization agency, officially known as the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), was also handed a down payment of 300 million euros, the first tranche of a 915-million-euro concession fee owed to the state. Lamda Development's subsidiary also presented a 347.1-million-euro letter of guarantee, as foreseen in the concession contract.
The signing over of the land rights essentially marks the actual commencement of works by ATHEX-listed Lamda Development and its subsidiaries to begin transformation of the site, which for decades hosted the greater Athens area's international airport and auxiliary facilities, into a world-class resort, retail park, upscale residential neighborhood and massive urban green space, all interspersed with up to six high-rise buildings and with a seafront featuring new marinas, beaches and entertainment complexes.
The entire site is officially called the Metropolitan Pole of Helleniko and the Aghios Kosmas site.
A relevant signing ceremony took place in the presence of several ministers and government officials, as the pro-reform and center-right Mitsotakis government has billed the privatization as one of its top priorities, dating back before the July 2019 snap election, when today's ruling New Democracy party was still in the main opposition.