State agency designates portion of old Athens airport land as ‘forest’

Helliniko Airport - The consortium, led by Athens-based Lamda Development, filed an appeal against the Forestry director's decision-via Naftemporiki

Naftemporiki — The Greek forestry state  agency designated a portion of the land at the disused and concrete-laden former Athens airport as “forestland”.

The Helleniko privatization is included among the “prior actions” in bailout memorandums signed with institutional creditors and as a “barometer” in the current coalition government’s volition to facilitate growth-generating investments. The tract of land would ostensibly comprise one of the biggest and most expensive property development projects in Europe.

Specifically, the administrative decision designates roughly 3.6 hectares of land within the 620.5-hectare expanse as entailing “forest characteristics”. The decision was signed by the forestry service director or Piraeus, which has jurisdiction over site in coastal southeastern Athens.

Bushes and contemporary landscaping were the only greenspaces that were visible amid the surrounding arid hills and fields over previous years whereas the relevant archaeological service is now called upon to decide if archaeological sites exist under the runways and other disused buildings.

The consortium that won the concession via an international tender, led by Athens-based Lamda Development, is expected to file an appeal against  the decision within 60 days.

In justifying the decision, the Piraeus forestry director pointed to the “1937-39 period”, where he refers to a “major portion (of the total site) as being low-land grassland, while sparse vegetation and sparse scattered trees and tree lines are visible…”