Demolition work began Friday on a long-delayed project to turn Athens' former airport into one of Europe's largest metropolitan parks, officials said.
"We are laying the foundations... (for) what is possibly the largest project in the Mediterranean," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the site of the Hellinikon project on the Athens seafront.
The eight-billion-euro ($9-billion) privately-funded project is expected to create 10,000 jobs in the construction phase alone, and over 80,000 overall, Mitsotakis said.
The government has termed 200-hectare Hellinikon the "largest urban redevelopment project in Europe."
The initiative, involving residences, hotels, a casino, marinas, a shopping centre and cultural venues, has been delayed for years.
Officials hope that the new park and adjoining leisure facilities will bring an additional one million tourists to Athens annually.
Situated 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of Athens, the former airport of Hellinikon was turned into a sports complex for the 2004 Olympics, but most of the venues built for the Games have rarely been used since.
According to the Greek development ministry, the first buildings will be constructed in 3.5 years. Completion will require up to eight years.
The project is funded by prominent Greek development fund Lamda, operated by the wealthy shipowning Latsis family.