The grounds of the former Ellinikon International Airport in Athens, Greece are set to be converted into one of the largest recreational parks in the world.
According to the Financial Times, in September 2016 the Greek parliament finally approved and cleared the area for renovation. The result of this massive undertaking will include cultural, shopping and business centres, as well as residential districts, numerous hotels and beaches and the largest European littoral park.
The airport complex ceased operations in 2001 when the new Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport opened. Several sports venues were built for the 2004 Olympics, but today the area is largely occupied by refugees who have taken shelter in the airport building and at the stadiums.
The final destination: what to expect at Ellinikon
The extent of the redevelopment is truly impressive. The area under reconstruction covers 620 hectares, 200 of which will comprise a massive public park. Despite the changes, the engineers and planners will not abandon
The Olympic heritage of the airport will also be preserved: in addition to the existing venues built for the 2004 Olympics, several new sports facilities will be constructed there.
A series of new underground stations and tram lines connecting the Ellinikon area and the city proper will be opened. There will also be bicycle lanes and footpaths spanning 50 km in total. All this will make both recreation and transportation all the easier for residents and visitors.
The project has already begun attracting foreign investors, including the Chinese conglomerate Fosun International and
Preparing to take flight: conditions for realising the project
The Ellinikon renovation project did not emerge in the best economic or political conditions for takeoff. In the middle of July 2016,
According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, between Q2 2015 and Q2 2016
Despite such gloomy conditions, the European Commission anticipates
What is more, tourism became one of the most promising industries amid the crisis: according to Greek real estate market observers, it is precisely the tourism segment of the property market that may contribute most
As conceived by the developers, the conversion of the Ellinikon airport grounds will entail generating
According to expert estimates, the park will draw hundreds of thousands of tourists to Greece annually and boost