85% of buildings in central Athens need work-study
The vast majority of buildings in central Athens, near Omonia square, require improvements and are harming the areas prospects, according to a study put together by the University of Thessaly.
The data on the poor condition of these buildings comes as the municipality of Athens pushes ahead with initiatives aimed drawing residents and shoppers back to the city center after years of street demonstrations against Greece's austerity measures turned locals off the area.
The study found that 85% of the 1,650 buildings it surveyed were in need of work and that more than half of them had been built before 1970. Additionally, 55% of them had ten owners, or more, creating problems in their management and maintenance.
Due to these reasons, pouring money into upgrading a building in this part of the capital has a high business risk, the study said.
"A vicious cycle has been created," said Nicholas Triantafyllopoulos, an assistant professor from the University of Thessaly. "The more the buildings need repairs, the more the urban environment deteriorates. At the same time, the deterioration of the environment leads to more owners abandoning the property."
Among the solutions recommended by the university is the introduction of more flexible laws that allow for buildings with multiple owners to be more easily renovated. Additionally, the study said that the provision of low interest rate loans to owners could provide them with the incentive to improve their assets.
The Hellenic Property Federation (POMIDA) sees the solution elsewhere: tax breaks. A number of property owners are being forced into completing renovations illegally due to the high taxes and red tape, POMIDA said, adding that this is harming the quality of the work being done on the property.