Multi-Billion Hellinikon Project Faces Yet Another Delay

Multi-Billion Hellinikon Project Faces Yet Another Delay

The long-stalled project for the redevelopment of a defunct airport near Athens, Greece into a luxury multi-purpose complex with a €1 billion casino has hit yet another setback.

Greek media reported this week that the end-of-November deadline for the announcement about the winning casino license bidder, a crucial step for the start of construction of the planned €8 billion Hellinikon mega-resort, will be missed and it could now take up to six months before that important announcement is finally made.

According to news reports from the past several days, the latest delay was caused by one of the two casino license bidders as it left out important information in its financial data report handed to Greek authorities for a review.

A number of international gaming and hospitality companies had previously expressed interest in building the casino resort portion of the Hellinikon plan. However, multiple delays have narrowed the race to just two bidders who submitted their applications to the Hellenic Gaming Commission by the October 4 deadline.

US casino and hospitality giants Hard Rock International of Florida and Connecticut’s Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment are bidding for the sole Hellinikon casino license. The winning bidder will be awarded a 30-year casino gaming license and will be required to build a casino resort with a hotel, convention facilities, and a gaming floor with at least 1,200 slot machines and 120 gaming tables.

License Winner Announcement Could Be Pushed Back by 3 Months

Greek news outlets did not name the company that has failed to submit all the necessary information to regulators. However, it has emerged omissions in the documentation presented included a letter of guarantee in the offer dossier that was short by four days than the prescribed length.

It is believed that the blunder would cause further delays in awarding the casino license. According to some reports in Greek media the decision could be delayed between three to up to six months. Announcing the preferred casino developer is a mandatory step that needs to be completed before the whole €8 billion Hellinikon scheme can move forward.

The newly elected government of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised that construction work at the Hellinikon site, the former Ellinikon International Airport, would kick off before the end of the year. The latest turn of events would undoubtedly result in that promise being broken.

Over the past four months, Greek ministers were busy to speed a number of ministerial decisions, including required planning and zoning approvals, in order for the long-stalled mega-scheme to finally see some significant progress.

Greek developer Lamda Development was tasked with the major Hellinikon project. The company, backed by Gulf and Chinese investors, plans to build a luxury mega-complex that will spread over 6,200,000 square meters of land which was previously occupied by Athens’ former international airport.

Aside from a casino resort, the larger Hellinikon complex will feature luxury accommodation options, retail space, MICE facilities, food and beverage outlets, entertainment and recreation amenities, and a marina, among others. The project is expected to create more than 75,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Source: Bidder Snafu Hangs Up Hellenikon Casino License Award, The National Herald

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