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Elaionas is ready for new development October 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.

Real estate sales have shot up, as have prices, amid growing pressure to site location for a new residential and entertainment complex

Elaionas 2006: The Panathinaikos soccer stadium, two metro stations and a new intercity bus terminal are in the pipeline. These major projects, which are an attempt to upgrade the area, have already made the price of real estate take off in this area in western Athens.

On the region’s outskirts, multiplex cinemas, live-music venues and bars are taking the place of machine shops and warehouses, as new entertainment locales develop. But alongside these bright business plans there are still 2,500 businesses in secondary and tertiary industries which have been in operation for decades.

Rapid changes in the area have brought up the issue of whether Elaionas will develop by means of any overall strategic plan that would impose order in the area or if it will be left to its fate.

Construction of the new 40,000-seat Panathinaikos soccer stadium (PAO), a 6,000-seat indoor field and a 50,000-square-meter mall was announced in the spring and approved in summer.

Before talks between the City of Athens and Panathinaikos, which had formed a special company, Dipli Anaplasi (DA), for the purpose, were completed, large business groups started seeking out real estate in the area, and prices shot up as much as 20 percent. The biggest sale was announced just a few days ago. Babis Vovos Diethnis Techniki SA announced the purchase of two large blocks of land, with a total area of more than 10 hectares, from ETMA and its subsidiary ELLATEX in the area being refurbished for 50 million euros.

Meanwhile, Dipli Anaplasi is trying to get things moving. “In the next 20 days, the city will acquire the areas belonging to the National Bank, 7.5 hectares for 20.3 million euros, and ETMA, around 5.3 hectares in exchange for the famous block of land No. 45” DA chief Theodoros Skylakakis said. “Expropriations of the remaining properties in the refurbishment area will be announced in early November.”

Some residents refuse to leave > The area in Votanikos where the new Panathinaikos soccer stadium (PAO) is to be built is deserted and full of trash. Its refurbishment will help to attract development to all of Elaionas.

Plans for the construction of the Panathenaikos soccer stadium (PAO) do not include any arrangement for the future of some 100 businesses that currently operate on the site. As Athens Chamber of Industry President Pavlos Ravanis said, those businesses employ around 450 people and have been in the area for 20-30 years. “We haven’t received any information from anyone,” complained one of the local businessmen, who has a factory in the neighborhood. “We are in favor of the refurbishment but it cannot be done by wiping us off the map. We’ve made inquiries everywhere and they keep sending us from pillar to post. There is no plan to transfer us to Elaionas, nor has anyone mentioned compensation. We will fight, by all legal means.”

That view is shared by a local family, one of the few that are permanent residents in the neighborhood. “When you have lived in a run-down neighborhood for 60 years, you hope that things will improve one day. At long last, the metro comes, there is a revamp and then they throw us out by mandatory expropriation,” the family protested. “We are determined to appeal to the Council of State; it’s our last weapon against the injustice that has been done to us.”

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