Lamda Development, the company that has acquired the former Athens International Airport at the southern suburb of Elliniko, stated that the process was fully legal. The statement came just a few hours after Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis’ comments who described the acquisition as “scandalous.”
According to Lafazanis, the plans presented in public regarding the area’s future use were “extremely anti-environmental,” while he declared that among the SYRIZA-led new government’s plans is to put them under further examination, aiming at the current development plans’ cancelation.
Lamda Development claimed that the procedures followed prior to the 6,200 acres area acquisition were all legal and the decision was approved by the Court of Auditors. Additionally, it highlighted that its investment will be a magnet for more potential investors and can contribute toward combating unemployment. Finally, the development company rejected Lafazanis’ accusations regarding the environmental impact of its plans and underlined the need for fertile discussion and debate.
It should be noted that on October 2014, the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) published a report stating that the former airport was sold for a whopping three times less than its true value. The value of the former Athens international airport is considered to be around 3 billion euros but it was sold by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) to Lamda Development for just 915 million euros in 2013.
The highly valued property -characterized as one of the most profitable in Athens’ southern suburbs- was sold by HRADF, in accordance with the previous Greek government, 222% less than its assessed value, while TEE underlined that the average price of 92 euros per square meter was similar to less affluent areas such as Vrachati in Corinth. This value does not correlate with the surrounding upscale areas of Athens’ southern suburbs. In addition, the report argued that the 955 acres of buildings in the Agios Kosmas area alone, should have been sold for at least 1.5 billion euros, exceeding the agreed deal by a landslide. In terms of the evaluation revealed by the TEE report, the Chamber’s President, Christos Spirtzis, underlined that “HRADF is a poor auction house, without starting prices and with just one offer. There is a big issue regarding the operation of HRADF.”