Agios Kosmas Marina in the south of Athens is set to receive a major upgrade as part of a €7bn resort project on the abandoned Athens Hellenikon Airport, which has just secured Greek Parliamentary approval. The marina was used as the base of the sailing events in the 2004 Summer Olympics held in the Greek capital.

The major 25-year reconstruction project for the former airport site will see the marina, which has 337 berths for yachts between 6m-90m (20ft-296ft), at the centre of the development. Details of exactly what the upgrade will include still have to be finalised, but the marina is a full-service facility including a boatyard.

Management of the project is in the hands of Lamda Development, a Greek business associated with the diverse Latsis business group whose interests include shipping, tourism and hotels. Apart from the marina upgrade, the project will include a number of hotels, retail facilities, commercial and office sites, some 8,000 new homes, parks, recreational areas and beaches.

In addition, the Hellenikon project is anticipated to impact positively on the Greek economy. A study by the Greek Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research suggests that it will contribute 2.4% to GDP growth, along with some €7.5bn in tax revenue over the next 25 years. It is also expected to create over 21,000 jobs.

Hellenikon will be Greece’s largest private investment project, although the Greek government will put around €1.5bn into the scheme. In addition to Lamda Development, the Chinese Fosun conglomerate and the Eagle Hills Group based in Abu Dhabi are also in the investment consortium behind Hellenikon.

Greece has been developing close links with China with state-owned Cosco (China Ocean Shipping Company) having bought ownership of the country’s leading port of Piraeus.

The Greek government owns over 40 marinas and leisure ports throughout the country. As part of coping with its financial challenges, the state was planning to have them privatised. To date two tranches involving seven marinas and ports were initiated, but are currently understood to be on hold.