Ma­jor shop­ping cen­ters set to mush­room across the cap­i­tal

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

Cen­tral Athens, the city’s south­ern sub­urbs and Pi­raeus are ex­pected to be the main lo­ca­tions of the next gen­er­a­tion of shop­ping cen­ters planned for the broader cap­i­tal re­gion by the end of the decade.

This con­cerns to­tal in­vest­ments that may ex­ceed 1 bil­lion eu­ros and would have al­ready opened for busi­ness were it not for the usual red tape and the ex­ten­sion of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis since early 2015 due to po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty. What is most sig­nif­i­cant about the mall in­vest­ments is that they will see for­eign in­vest­ment funds play a lead­ing role.

The most ma­ture plan con­cerns the Academy Gar­dens mall at Akadimia Platonos, western Athens, be­ing de­vel­oped by Ar­tume, a sub­sidiary of US group Black­Rock. Early last week the Coun­cil of State ap­proved a pres­i­den­tial de­cree on the prop­erty’s con­struc­tion terms, so the 300-mil­lion-euro in­vest­ment is now head­ing for the build­ing per­mit stage, ex­pected to­ward the end of 2017.

REDS will launch open the new mall it is cre­at­ing on a 315,000square me­ter plot at Kantza, eastern At­tica, within 2020. The listed com­pany’s man­age­ment says it is ex­pect­ing to get town-plan­ning ap- proval, adding that it fore­sees the shop­ping cen­ter open­ing three years after it gets the build­ing per­mits. The 220-mil­lion-euro in­vest­ment may well have a for­eign in­vestor par­tic­i­pat­ing.

A ma­jor com­mer­cial ven­ture is be­ing planned at the Elliniko prop­erty that the con­sor­tium com­pris­ing Lamda De­vel­op­ment, Ea­gle Hills (of Abu Dhabi) and Fo­sun (China) is pre­par­ing. In the in­vest­ment’s first stage, along­side the metropoli­tan park and in­fras­truc­ture works, plans in­clude a large shop­ping cen­ter, the first of its kind in the south­ern sub­urbs. If the nec­es­sary per­mits are is­sued in the next few months (which ap­pears op­ti­mistic at this point) the new mall will be able to start op­er­at­ing around 2021.

Al­pha Bank is push­ing for the com­ple­tion of a mall that Babis Vovos had started at Votanikos, western Athens, and rail­way real es­tate com­pany Ga­iaOSE has set in mo­tion the uti­liza­tion of the old ter­mi­nal sta­tion in Pi­raeus for the de­vel­op­ment of a 40,000 sq.m. mall worth some 70 mil­lion eu­ros.

In­vestors are turn­ing to malls due to their high oc­cu­pancy rates, just as 30-40 per­cent of high street stores have closed, and their rel­a­tively sta­ble rental rates, which last year rose by more than 5 per­cent.

Al­pha Bank is push­ing for the com­ple­tion of the mall that Babis Vovos had started de­vel­op­ing at Votanikos (pic­tured), while REDS is plan­ning to open its new mall on a 315,000-square me­ter plot at Kantza in 2020.

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