It was the second time the project that was originally designed to house foreign journalists for the 2004 Olympics has been ruled unlawfully constructed.
Scandal has surrounded its work. A plenary of judges at Greece’s highest administrative court decided that a law passed in 2003 to allow the speeding up of construction work around the Olympic Stadium amid a frantic bid to prepare the site for the 2004 Games had been legal but that it had been unconstitutional for this legislation to be used to construct the nearby mall.
Once the court publishes its decision, the owners of the building, which covers 58,500 square meters and has 90,000 square meters of underground parking, will have to pay a large fine to protect it from demolition. The size of the fine is not known yet.
It has approximately 200 outlets for commercial and entertainment use, spread over four stories. Its construction evolved into a significant scandal involving real-estate, construction and commercial corporations, heads of government, ministers, and mayors.
Before the Olympics, the site currently occupied by the shopping center was grazing land for sheep. However, major road and rail infrastructure projects turned it into a prime piece of real-estate. The site belonged to the state and was meant for social housing. Instead, it was sold at a discount to Lamda Development, the Latsis Group subsidiary which erected The Mall.
Greece’s highest court had in 2003 ruled that the laws passed for The Mall were unconstitutional and ordered the building stopped but the company and the government ignored it and then passed a series of laws trying to circumvent its illegality and trying to skirt the courts.
The Lambda company was also supposed to build a 20-acre park next to the mall but it is a parking lot. The Mall, as it is called, is one of the most popular shopping attractions in the country.