Former US military base on Crete draws four bids in key privatization

Greece’s privatizations office, HRADF, has received four bids for the development of the former US military base of Gournes, located at Heraklion, on the island of Crete.

The show of interest in the asset -one of Greece’s most eagerly awaited property sales - was at the bottom end of expectations, markets watchers say.

Bids were submitted from Club Hotel Casino Loutraki SA – Lyktos Holdings SA, Dimand SA, Reds SA and one from Luxembourg-based real estate company Vivion Investments, said HRADF, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund.

“The review of the documentation submitted in order to verify that they are in line with the terms specified in the Request for Proposal will begin immediately. Shortly after, the board of directors of HRADF will unseal the financial offers in accordance with the applicable procedure. HRADF may further ask for improved financial offers as per the rules of the tender process,“ said the HRADF in a statement.

Dubbed the ‘Small Ellinikon”, after the development of the former Athens international airport, the asset is considered to be a key item on the country’s privatizations agenda.

The real estate property of Gournes consists of a beachfront land plot of 345,567 sqm located 13km from the airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” and 16 km from Heraklion. In neighboring land plots to the property have been developed the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, the Creta quarium Thalassocosmos, the International Exhibition and Conference Centre of Crete, etc.

The Gournes property area has been approved for development as a mixed use casino and resort facility.

The tender, which follows years of delay, comes amid an emerging investment and building boom on Crete, the Mediterranean’s fifth largest island.

At the same time, the Greek government is investing billions of euros to upgrade Crete’s transport and power infrastructure. Work has recently begun on a new 1.5 billion euro international airport in Kastelli -- located about 20 kilometers from Gournes – and is expected to be in operation by the end of 2023.

Also underway is a 2 billion euro highway project stretching along the north coast of Crete, said to be one of the largest public works projects in Europe.