The Sale of Helliniko: Not good for growth, not good for recovery, simply catastrophe

Paintings made by the students of the first grade of a primary school located in the area of Helliniko-Athens.

04 October 2016 Helliniko

 

The Sale of Helliniko:

Not good for growth, not good for recovery, simply catastrophe

 

Last summer, a huge wave of publicity started from the government, together with the usual sources of (mis)information to overcome public resistance to the programmed total destruction of the sea front and the old Helliniko airport site.

They are trying, with every resource at their disposal to convince us that the area of 6.2 million square meters – a huge tract of land in a prime location is not being sold at a ridiculously low cost, because it will be an “investment” that will bring rewards, such as 10s of thousands of jobs.  Let’s look one by one at what will happen and let everyone decide exactly what’s happening:

  • The sale price is 915 million euros, which equates to 148 euros a square meter for a 99 year lease hold. The money will be paid in instalments over a decade…corresponds to 12 days interest to the Greece’s debt.  The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund will direct the income of the sale to pay off the debt, not to the public coffers.  In other words, this country will sell an area three times the size of Monaco and will get back almost nothing.
  • Not only will their be no income to the state (so badly needed) but the country will have to pay into the scheme because of the relocation of many public services now located in the area, such as the National Weather Service, the Marine Research Center, the largest municipal bus depot and many others. Services of the municipality Helliniko-Argyroupolis, sports federations, training areas for Olympic teams at the sea at Ag. Kosmas, traffic police, fire services and other public services will also have to go.  The total cost of the migration will be in excess of 600 million, and in many cases, they will be moved to less than optimal locations.
  • Connection by tunnel from the development to Messogion Avenue and Attiki Highway (cost 1.2-1.5 billion)
  • Running the coastal road underground, at the cost of 300 million Euros. The government says that this will be paid by the investors.  The question remains, why put the coastal road underground in the first place – to make the area more “attractive”?  Why should people drive through a 3.5 klm tunnel just to make the development seem more “sea side”?
  • In the old airport lands there are buildings constructed for the Olympics that cost the Greek people 417 million. Those will be gifted to the investors, or bulldozed.
  • According to law 3943/2011, Lamda Development (the investor) will be exempt from paying property taxes

To sum up, the total cost to the Greek state will be between 1.8 to 2.5 billion Euro even taking into account the new revised plan of investment that has been greeted by the government with such fanfare even though just a short while ago they were dead opposed to this plan.

So we’re not talking about investment or sale – but simply theft from the Greek people.

But there are other aspects of the story that shed light on these dark plans.

  • A giant shopping center will be built with hugely negative effects on small businesses and shops in the surrounding areas
  • The public will not have access to the coast for 3.5 klm. The government is calling this a great victory because the investors undertake to give public access of 1 klm of beach front – access they already have.  The investor will seal off the remaining 2.5 klm and of course the two marinas and Olympic sites already there.
  • The main shareholders of Lamda Development, the Latsi family have already burdened the Greek state with public debts of over 2.5 billion for the rescue of Eurobank. So how is it that this family failed to save its bank a few years ago, and now appears as the investor and all is forgiven?
  • Lamda Development has been involved in the scandal concerning the Mall in Marousi. This large mall was investigated in 2009 and the damage to the public was estimated at 243 million Euro not counting the cost to the environment which is paid by the residents in the area.  (read more here https://www.thepressproject.gr/article/100457/To-the-Mall-kai-i-ikanotita-tou-Latsi-na-blepei-to-mellon )
  • There will be considerable impact on the environment by 6.2 million sq. meters of concrete on the old airport and beach front. Featured will be a huge shopping center, 16 floor apartment buildings and skyscrapers.
  • They will be given a license for a casino which the investor wants urgently to speed cash flow directly into their pockets. What community and social needs will this meet and how to correct this?
  • Pending investigations from the prosecutor for economic crime for the low price paid investigating the price is at least two and a half times lower than it should be.
  • Lamda Development acquires 30% of complete rights to the land- which is ownership. In other words, 30% of the property is NOT part of the 99 year usage.  It is in effect purchasing the land – which the government is hiding.
  • There was an “international” competition for the land, but the only participant was Lamda Development
  • Archaeological finds have been discovered in the area within the old airport. What will happen if more discoveries are made while under construction?
  • What employment positions will be created in Greece, now in undergoing the worst economic crisis in peace time? Newly employed now work for 300 and 400 euros a month on flexible/ part time slaves, making them no better than expendable slaves

It is easy to understand that the “improvement” of the old airport and the beach front at Helliniko is nothing of the kind.  What is more difficult to understand is the quick turnaround of those who until recently were dead set against this project.  Now these officials say that it will be a great benefit to the public.  In essence they are putting paint on something ugly, caving in to the obligations on the state by the austerity policies that Greece is forced to follow.  These policies aim at bringing this country to its knees.  We are to obey the dictates of the financial elite that have plagued the Greek economy.

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko, from the very start of its existence has emphasized (by the name Metropolitan) the importance of a Metropolitan park in this vast tract of land.  A green area, a place for leisure cultural centers and athletics and for better mental and physical HEALTH for the inhabitants of the capital city is no less than what people deserve.  Instead of that, they want to create a monstrosity of cement, blocking the sea breezes and access of the public as well.  It will be a luxurious refuge for the rich.

We, as volunteers at the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko will continue to defend the public nature of the area and will fight to stop Lamda Development’s planned scandalous misuse of Helliniko.  Citizens should be vigilant and assist in this difficult struggle against various institutions in order to defend the common public interest.

There are alternatives, with minimum cost to the public and many real, and decent, jobs

Read more here (in Greek) http://www.dikaiologitika.gr/eidhseis/oikonomia/102868/pos-xarisan-to-elliniko-stilamda-development

Here is a video that we put together some time ago on this subject (in Greek) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbD9VceVIts

 

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO

Working Hours
(MONDAY – FRIDAY 10:00 – 20:00)  and (SATURDAY 10:00 – 14:00)
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base,
(200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality
of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko)
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece
Website: http://www.mkiellinikou.org/en/
Email: mkiellinikou@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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