Greece approves 300 mln euro mall under cloud of threats
Greece has approved the construction of a 300 million euro shopping mall in central Athens after investors threatened to pull the plug on the investment that has been ten years in the pipeline.
Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis signed a presidential decree Tuesday paving the way for the construction of the 55,000 square meter shopping mall by Artume, backed by US asset manager Blackrock.
The site is located in the area of Akadimia Platonos, or Platos' Academy, where Plato practiced philosophy and Socrates frequented around 384 BC. The mall has been heavily opposed by local residents and archaeologists, who argue that construction rules are being breached.
Although the presidential decree is seen as being a important step, there are lingering doubts as to whether the project will go ahead.
Greece has been frustrating investors on some of the country's key projects due to resistance to investments coming from left wing factions with the ruling Syriza party.
Bureaucracy and legal wranglings have added to the problems, putting at risk billions of euros of investments at a time where the economy is struggling to recover from a debt crisis that nearly resulted in a Grexit, the country's exit from the euro.
Lamda Development, which is leading the eight billion euro Hellinikon urban development, indicated last year that failure by Greece to stick to their agreement on the deal may bring an end to the project. Since then, progress appears to have been made on the investment.
Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Corp. has also been in a very public slugging match with the Greek government, threatening to shut down some of its gold mining operations in northern Greece. Some of the promised permits are not being issued by authorities, creating problems for the mine, according to Eldorado Gold.