November 24, 2017 / 8:07 AM / a year ago

Developer Lamda urges Greece to show 'political will' on resort plan

ATHENS, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Property developer Lamda has appealed to the Greek government to show “political will” and remove hurdles for the construction of a luxury resort plan on a disused Athens airport.

Lamda, backed by Chinese and Gulf funds, submitted an 8 billion euro ($9.3 billion) proposal in July to convert 620 hectares of wasteland at the former Hellenikon airport into a complex of luxury residences, hotels, a yachting marina and casinos. (nL5N1KH3CK)

“Greater determination is needed because there is quite a distance between will and implementation that needs to be covered,” Lamda’s Chief Executive Odisseas Athanassiou told a Greek television station late on Thursday.

“The best example to show there is political will is to have the investment in place in the coming months.”

Progress on the project is being watched by Greece’s creditors as a test of its commitment to privatisation under its multi-billion euro international bailout.

Athanassiou said some 10,000 jobs will be created once construction works start and will reach 70,000 in five to six years.

The group signed a 99-year lease with the state in 2014. But the project has been beset with delays, partly due to a long-running dispute with critics who fear it will damage the local environment and cultural heritage.

The latest setback was a decision by Greece’s culture ministry to declare parts of the airport compound an archaeological area and to impose other restrictions.

Greece is gradually returning to growth on a resurgence in demand after a crippling recession that knocked a quarter off output between 2008 and 2016 and sent unemployment to record highs. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou)

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