Discussion starts on saving 1,800 abandoned Athens buildings

Discussion starts on saving abandoned Athens buildings

After a three year freeze, talks are resuming in Greece on how to save 1,800 abandoned buildings, located in the center of Athens and often of historic significance.

Government officials told greekguru.net that the Energy and Environment Ministry will look into ways to save and preserve these buildings that are privately owned. Many of them feature neoclassical architecture and have been abandoned after being inherited by multiple owners, or due to the high tax bill that comes with it.

Some of them are literally crumbling, posing a threat to public safety, while others have been taken over by squatters.

A draft billl aimed at saving and restoring the dwellings had been prepared by the previous conservative government but was shelved after left wing Syriza took power in January 2015. It was frozen on the grounds that it was unfair to owners and had legal weaknesses that would not have passed legal challenges in courts, government officials say. Now the issue is back on the table.

“We are looking into how this can be done in a fair manner,” said one government official.

Apart from the government looking at potential changes to the law, consultations with the public will also start soon, the official added.

Greece's tourism boom is helping regenerate interest in preserving these buildings. Many of them are in areas such as Monastiraki, Thisio and Psiri, districts where there is high demand for short term property rentals and hotels.