(Greece) – On Tuesday, Greece signed a privatization deal that would turn the former international airport in Athens into a luxury real estate project. The airport has been out of use, but thousands of refugees have since made it their home. Dubbed the “Elliniko Deal”, Athens is set to sign the papers on Tuesday that would set up the sale and long-term lease of the old Athens airport, which is located in the Elliniko area. International creditors have said that selling this property is a requirement in order for them to unlock bailout funds that Greece needs to pay their upcoming loan payments to the International Monetary Fund and also to the European Bank.
Although the sale has been pending for a while, there have been multiple delays caused by local communities and also multiple technical delays. The airport has also been inhabited by refugees, which has further delayed the proceedings. However, the 915 million euro deal has finally been concluded. Lamda Development, a company from Greece, will own part of the area. They will also be awarded a lease lasting 99 years, which will give them a chance to develop all of the land.
Olga Gerovasili, a government spokeswoman, has said, “We expect within the day the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the privatization agency and investors.” The land is valuable and much of it is at the seafront. She also said that the government had a deadline of November 16 to nail down the details of the deal and they plan to continue to negotiate with investors.
This deal met one of the major conditions that would unlock bailout funds that the country badly needs to stay afloat. Greece has needed bailout money since the country got out of the international bonds market in 2010. Greece has been in a recession for around the past six years and each of these bailouts is has been designed to help get the economy back on track. However, each bailout has had a series of conditions and austerity measures that needed to be met in order to secure funds.