ATHENS, March 23 (Reuters) - Greece will soon define the
boundaries of a site where investors plan to spend 7.9 billion
euros ($8.5 billion) to build one of Europe's biggest coastal
resorts, the culture ministry said, in a sign the delayed
project may eventually go ahead.
A consortium of Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors,
led by Greece's Lamda, signed a deal in 2014 for the
99-year lease of a sprawling area at the former Athens airport
in Hellenikon and the development of a coastal town.
Greek lawmakers cleared the investment last summer and
investors hoped excavation works could start in the first half
of this year.
But the investment, a key part of Greece's privatisation
drive under its latest international bailout, has been fraught
with delays as the authorities dragged their feet in demarcating
the area and providing the necessary licensing.
A group of 18 lawmakers from the ruling leftist Syriza party
last month asked the culture ministry to put the plan under the
supervision of its archaeological services to avert possible
litigation and compensation demands from the consortium should
antiquities be found at the site.
In a letter of reply published on the parliament's website
late on Wednesday, the ministry said it was at the final stage
of determining the boundaries of the site.
But it added all planned works would be closely monitored by
Greek archaeological experts before any permit was given and
said construction work would stop for as long as needed for the
authorities to evaluate, move or showcase any antiquities that
may be found.
The former Athens airport in Hellenikon closed in 2001 and
cash-strapped Greece has been trying for more than a decade to
turn 170 acres of coastal land into something that can produce
jobs and boost the economy.
($1 = 0.9276 euros)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Mark Potter)