Ahead of Greece's elections, problems grow at Hellinikon

Fresh setback for Hellinikon, problems grow due to elections

The Hellenikon development in southern Athens has suffered a fresh setback as Greece's snap polls add another obstacle to the heavily delayed eight billion euro project.

Three joint ministerial decisions outlining issues, such as land use of the site, have yet to be signed by ministries involved in the project to be built at the former Athens international airport. This has forced Greece's gaming commission to push back the deadline for bids on the casino by one month until the end of July since the construction terms of the tender are still up in the air.

It is the third time that the gaming commission has delayed this deadline in a process that was largely expected to have moved ahead over the summer period.

Greece's public sector typically seizes up ahead of elections and political changes. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called early elections for July 7 after his Syriza party suffered heavy losses at European parliamentary elections held in May.

Conservatives New Democracy are likely to win the July elections and take office after leftists Syriza have been running the country since January 2015.

New Democracy has promised to push through the Hellinikon urban development project, that is seen providing a major boost to the Greek economy, but doubts remain as to how quickly the conservatives can do this.

Greece's building regulations are complex, often causing large delays even on small projects, while resistance to the Hellinikon development remains, particularly from left wing parties with supporters in key government services. Officials from Lamda Development, the company leading the investor consortium on Hellinikon, have refrained from saying publicly when construction work may commence.

According to Greek press, there are two companies interested in the Hellinikon casino: (1) Hard Rock Casino and Hotels and (2) Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment.

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