Real Estate Greece – Covid 19 July 2021
Which areas in Athens will be upgraded.
The real estate market in the center of Athens is entering a new phase, because a series of interventions, renovations and large projects that are being launched are expected to change the view of the capital. Is not accidental that throughout the pandemic period the investment interest in buying real estate properties remained high. According to experts, Athens will change its view and is a matter of time before it evolves into a destination of high international standards. This is expected to cause a significant increase in property prices even in areas for which there was no buying interest for long time, because they were characterized as ‘degraded’, or the purchase value of their properties had suffered a significant reduction. An important role in the recovery of the real estate market is also played by the fact that most of the old properties in the center of Athens are being renovated, either by new buyers-investors or through government programs, contributing that way to the upgrading of the buildings of the center but also in the increase of commercial values.
Few people know that in Acadimia Platonos there is a hidden oasis of 135 acres – the archaeological grove.A few days ago, the Central Archaeological Council approved the upgrade of the Archaeological Park and the establisment of the Archaeological Museum of Athens at the specific location.
Alexandras Avenue and Votanikos
The double renovation on Alexandras Avenue and Votanikos is undoubtedly the second biggest opportunity for the domestic Real Estate after the investment in the coastal front, both for Attica and the country as a whole. The total interventions on Alexandras Avenue are estimated to exceed 20 acres. Investments of tens of millions of euros will be made in the heart of Athens. Areas such as Gyzi and Ampelokipi may be the new center of the city, as had been done in the past with the area of Psyrri. Votanikos will receive the largest volume of investments. The investments that will be made there will transform the industry-handicraft and wholesale zone into an area that will include modern sports facilities, areas for the public, green areas, as well as buildings of central functions. This modulation in an area of about 220 acres will change the current picture and turn it into an area of high profile and value in the center of the capital.
Metropolitan Park in Goudi
Another green space in the city center is the Metropolitan Park in Goudi. This is a public area of 965 acres, on the borders of the Municipalities of Athens, Zografou and Papagou. As for the part of the area that belongs to the Municipality of Zografou, it is a verdant area of 49 acres, which once hosted the military camp “Goudi” and today has been transformed into an organized place of recreation and sports, thus being an important way out for the residents of the area and suburbs as well. It is located quite close to the city center, between Mesogeion, Katehaki and Kifissia avenues, while the “Goudi” metro station is located in Eleftherias Square Spiliopoulou str in the Municipality of Zografou.
In summary, the modulations which promoted by the state in combination with the private investments are expected to stimulate the values of the real estate in the capital, even in the areas that for a long time had suffered a sharp decline and were characterized as “degraded”. The renovations, the transport projects and the investments in emblematic buildings and hotels that will boost the prices are:
- The utilization of emblematic buildings
Emblematic buildings in the center of Athens, which for many years housed historical newspapers or/and hotels and which for decades remained closed and were looking for the appropriate buyer – investor are now begin to exploited and will actively participate in the new image that is expected to acquire the center of the capital.
- The reconstruction of squares
The architectural study recently approved by the Central Council of Architecture concerns a total area of about 195 acres and includes the reconstruction of squares (Agia Irini, Agios Georgios Karytsis, Agios Theodoros, Ieros Lochos), the creation of new sidewalks as well as the reconstruction or maintenance of existing sidewalks and pavements.
- The renovation of the old apartments
The most of the properties transfers in the center of Athens concerned old properties, properties that were purchased either with the aim of their immediate renovation with the main goal of resale or/and exploitation through long-term lease, or with the aspiration of home ownership. The fact that most of the old properties in the center of Athens are being renovated, either through new buyers-investors or through government programs, contributes to the upgrading of the buildings in the center of Athens but also to the increase of commercial values.
- New hotels in the center of Athens
The 16 new hotels located in the main axes of Athens, many of which are expected to open in the near future, are expected to begin hosting the first visitors soon. The fact that private investment schemes and funds are constantly investing, even in the midst of a pandemic, in the tourism industry of the Municipality of Athens for the conversion of the emblematic buildings and the office spaces in Omonia, Stadiou, Kerameiko, Sggrou Av., Ermou, Nikis , in Euripides, Liossia and Piraeus, either in luxury hotels or in Suites room, prove in practice that the change of the center of the capital into a destination of international standards, is a matter of time.
- The new metro stations of Line 4
The new line will include 15 new underground stations: Alsos Veikou, Galatsi, Elikonos, Kypseli, Courts, Alexandras Av., Exarchia, Akadimia, Kolonaki, Evangelismos, Kaisariani, Near East, Zografou, Ilisia and Goudi.
Line 4 will have two response stations, in the Academy with the Panepistimio station of the Line 2, and in Evangelismos with the Line 3. It is estimated that it will serve about 340.000 passengers per day, while the transfers by car are expected to decrease by 53.000 per day.
The investments in hotels
The fact that private investment schemes and funds are constantly investing, even in the midst of a pandemic, in the tourism industry of the Municipality of Athens, for the conversion of emblematic buildings and office spaces in Omonia, Stadiou, Kerameikos, L. Syggrou, Ermou, Nikis, in Evripidou, Liossia and Piraeus, either in luxury hotels or in suites room, proves in practice that the change of the center of the capital into a destination of international standards is a matter of time. Investors who believed in the future of Greek tourism and the country in general, never withdrew from the Greek market. Despite the difficult situation, most of the hotel projects that had started in Athens and in the rest of the country are proceeding normally again, as well as the large investments, mainly in tourism infrastructure projects. The common element in all these projects is the quality of the facilities and the services provided, as the investors know very well that the standards will go up. The estimates of an impressive recovery in tourism from 2022 to 2024, but also for the transformation of Greece into a 12 month destination, have turned the country into a pole of attraction for funds of billions of euros. In the major tourism projects now involve top funds from around the world, which through their investments give in practice a “vote of confidence” in Greece and especially in Athens, which seeks to establish itself as a city break destination. 16 new hotel units are expected to be added in the months to come in Athens. The protagonist of the large investments in the tourist infrastructure and in the real estate is the Attica Riviera, the 70 km coastal front, which starts from Mikrolimano in Piraeus and ends shortly after the temple of Poseidon. The upgrade of Asteras Vouliagmenis, which is managed by Four Seasons, was one of the first projects that contributed to the transformation of the Riviera. Today, the Attica Riviera is transforming quickly to the Greek “Monaco”. At present, investments of 2.5 billion euros are already being implemented, which concern the construction of necessary infrastructures of high added value. Among other things, the plans include : a) the expansion of the OLP cruise pier, a budget project of 103 million euros, which will allow the hosting of large cruise ships, turning the port of Piraeus into a home port, b) the utilization of the Alimos marina which provides for the development of approximately 18.000 sq.m. modern facilities in the land area (area of 210 acres), in order to create dining and leisure areas, hotel services, offices, storage and repair of boats, as well as commercial uses. Aktor, which has undertaken the project, will invest 50m euros over the 4-5 years.
The list of new projects also includes infrastructure projects in Elliniko, which are to be auctioned in the near future, including the creation of utility networks, the reconstruction-arrangement of streams, the renovation-upgrade of the beach of Agios Kosmas of about 1 length, etc.
The new marina of Vouliagmeni, part of the emblematic complex of Asteras Vouliagmeni, has an important contribution to the upgrading of the coastal front, which is entering the implementation phase and is accompanied by an investment of 48 million euros. There are several new hotel units that will start operating by the end of the year and the first months of 2022 in Athens. Some of these are:
The new Moxy: The Moxy Hotel, located at Saroglio Megaron, at 65 Stadiou Street, near Omonia Square, is expected to open its doors by the end of the year. It belongs to the category of affordable branded hotels, while the Moxy brand belongs to the Marriott group. The € 20 million investment is being implemented jointly by Dimand, Prodea Investments and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and predicts the creation of a 200 room urban hotel.
NYX Athens (former Esperia): As NYX Athens by Leonardo, the historic Esperia Hotel on Stadiou Street will reopen its doors in 2022. The project has been undertaken by the Israeli company Fattal and the new five-star hotel will have, among other things, two new swimming pools and shading systems on the roof of the building, while at the same time important interior arrangements will be made. Additionally, on the 9th floor will be situated the main restaurant of the hotel overlooking the Acropolis, while on the roof will be created additional a small dining area by the pool. The hotel passed into the hands of Fattal after the relevant tender made by EFKA for a monthly rent of 95.830 euros for 30 + 10 years. The cost of the renovation is expected to exceed 10m euros.
Xenodocheio Milos: In the autumn of 2021, the five star boutique Xenodoxeio Milos is expected to open in the heart of Athens, which is located in a neoclassical building behind the Old Parliament and specifically at 3-5 Kolokotroni Street. The building, which belongs to the Army Share Fund, was leased in 2017 with a lease term of 30 years, it has a total area of 4,400 sq.m., while the accommodation will have a capacity of 43 rooms. The Xenodocheio Milos is managed by the Epoque Collection, while on the ground floor will be hosted the Estiatorio Milos.
Lighthouse Athens (former La Mirage): The Lighthouse Hotel, the former historic hotel La Mirage, opens on July 1st on Omonia Square, after a radical renovation was made in recent years. The hotel is leased to the Israeli company Brown Hotels and has a total area of 9.392 sq.m. and a capacity of 208 rooms. When it was built, it was considered one of the largest investments in the Center area. It was renovated for the needs of the Athens Olympic Games, but then went into decline, until it closed in July 2008. It should be noted that Brown Hotels has already opened two new hotels in the Omonia area, the Brown Acropol and the DAVE Red Athens.
The Cohort Athens: The opening of The Cohort Athens, a new four-star hotel, at 93 Liosion Street, is expected soon. The 100 room hotel is included into the category of smart hotels, which attempt to combine hotel services – rooms, furnished apartments, restaurants and workplaces – under one roof, with a special emphasis on high-tech infrastructure. This hotel is owned by an investor from Lebanon.
82 Evripidou Hotel: Also, in the summer, the 82 Evripidou Hotel, the new boutique hotel on Evripidou Street, in the center of Athens, is expected to open its doors by the Israeli interests Ficus Investments and Brown Hotels. Essentially, this is the reconstruction of two five-storey adjoining buildings that are connected to each other with the Manousaki stoa tunnel at number 82 of Evripidou, within a plot of 470 sq.m. The new hotel will have a total of 63 rooms.
Athens Capital Hotel: In the center of Athens, next to Syntagma Square the operation of the Athens Capital Hotel stands out. The investment reached 22 million euros, while the management was taken over by the international chain Accor Group. Also, the investment of the real estate investment company Briq Properties amounted to 1.5 million euros. It concerns a boutique hotel in Kolonaki, with the management being undertaken by the international chain The Modernist.
Asteria Glyfadas: The Asteria Glyfadas enter in the final stage after the recent approval of the architectural study, from the Central Council of Architecture. Grivalia’s investment includes the creation of a five-star hotel with a capacity of 400 beds, while according to the architectural study 115 luxury rooms, 14 tourist, 12 suites, exhibition space and multipurpose hall, two restaurants, archeological walks, activity areas for children and teenagers and a rejuvenation center will be created. The investment is estimated at 60 million euros, while the project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022, but the restaurants will open sooner, thiw year.
Investments in shopping malls
In the midst of a pandemic and due to the pressure to the commercial real estate, new plans for extensions or construction of new malls are in the process of implementation, thus demonstrating that an important role in the management of commercial real estate has the way of their development and operation as well as the point at which they are chosen to be created. With the lifting of restrictive measures and the gradual restart of the economy, the interest from big real estate companies and not, for big boxes has grown radically. These mainly concern properties in which large retail companies already operate, such as supermarkets or chains of other kinds. However, the further development of the center of Athens due to tourism, have opened the way for new projects, several of which are already being implemented or have been recently completed. The 5 big investments in shopping malls are:
- The City Link in Stadiou
In the midst of a pandemic, the expansion investment in the mega commercial property of ATTICA in the center of Athens was completed. The total investment amounted € 8 million, taking into account both the participation of ATTICA DEPARTMENT STORES SA and the fixed and working capital expenses of the partners / suppliers of the company, indicating their confidence in attica department stores. The total area of attica City Link is 30.000 sq.m., giving it the title of the largest department store in Greece.
- The expansion of the River West in Kifissos
The company’s new investment in the River West shopping center on Kifissos Avenue is in the final stage. The new property that is being constructed right next to the existing building of the shopping center, on the plot where used to be the facilities of the Mouzaki industry, will have an area of 25,000 sq.m. There will be both new commercial areas (stores) and places of entertainment. In fact, the company’s management is making moves to bring new large shopping chains to the expansion, to further increase visits to the mall.
- The Cambas Project in Pallini
One of the largest investment projects in Attica, with a budget of 200 million euros, the Cambas Project, is being implemented after the recent approval of the urban planning study. The Cambas Project will be built on a plot of 315 acres, on the site of the old Kampa winery in Kantza. The buildable area is 89,000 sq.m. The main role in the new investment will be played by the open park that will be created and the commercial uses around it, in the form of an open mall. Hotel and office spaces will also be created in the area. The amount of the investment is 220 million euros and is expected to create 1.600 new jobs. It will be completed by 2026.
- The new malls in Elliniko
The investment in Elliniko is so large and the area and the expected attendance are so big that it is estimated that not one but two shopping centers will be built. One of them will be large and of ¨closed¨ type and the second will be open near the Marina. During the first five years the two commercial developments that have priority are the shopping center on Vouliagmeni Avenue (maybe it will be called Vouliagminis Mall) but also the commercial development of spaces in the marina of Agios Kosmas, which will be named Marina Galleria, and will host mainly the visitors of the casino resort and the accommodation units in the area. The Vouliagmenis Mall will have 72,000 square meters of rental space and will be 20% larger than The Mall Athens that Lamda has in Maroussi. The amount of investment for these commercial properties is estimated at 622 million euros.
- The new shopping center in Kifissos, in the area of Metamorfosi
At the north of Athens and again near the junction of Kifissos Avenue, in Metamorfosi (at the junction of Lykovrisi), one more new shopping center is under construction. This large investment of over 93 million euros will be made by the Konstantinos Group, owner by the well-known expatriate businessman Pan. Konstantinou from Venezuela, who opened with great success the first large shopping center in the Southern Suburbs, the Athens Metro Mall in Agios Dimitrios. The plan includes the construction of a complex shopping and entertainment center in an area of 85 acres, with a facade on Kifissou Avenue (Athens – Lamia National Road). The entity of the investment is the company Panita Ltd.
The pandemic has brought ups and downs in the logistics industry as well. The logististics sector in order to face the increased demands arisen by the launce of e- commerce, moves forward to investments. The goal is the upgraded infrastructure for the better management of the supply/distribution chain. At the same time, the entry of new players has begun, with investments in logistics centers in larger areas than those that had been developed until 2020. Investments of more than 150 million euros are already underway for new storage spaces of more than 300 thousand square meters, mainly in the Thriasio Pedio that is being developed in a transit hub. And all this despite the fact that the greek market of logistics services to third parties (3PL) declined last year, compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. However, since 2015 the sector has had an upward trend. In Greece, around seven distinct regional centers have been developed, mainly in Athens: Thriasio Pedio, Eastern Attica, North Attica, Piraeus, Inofita. In Attica is located about 60% -70% of the total area. Today, any new logistics space of more than 20,000 sq.m. can be leased immediately as there is accumulated demand and non -existent supply. The market imbalance leads to the increases in values and to the reduction in the rate of return for good quality real estate, depending on the location and construction characteristics. The logistics sector presents investment opportunities due to the excellent position of the country, the large movement of goods from the surrounding countries through Greece but also the sector’s durability during the crisis period. In the midst of a pandemic, and while other real estate sectors came under pressure (retail, etc.), the warehousing not only kept pace but also gained momentum, while benefiting from e-commerce and the storage needs. The sector is now considered strategic, after all, Greece is a hub, with large ports, which are a gateway to Europe, while recently several infrastructures (road, rail, port, etc.) are being implemented or promoted in the country that “connect” with the government’s goals for the transformation of Greece into a “warehouse-freight hub”. Today the logistics yields in Greece range between 7.5% to 8.5% and are considered one of the highest in Europe, while several companies have long-term leases, with reliable tenants and good returns.
The Covid-19 “accelerated the digital transformation worldwide, influencing investor is preference sectors. In this context, strong prospects are recorded for the logistics, data centers, communication towers and fiber optics sectors. Furthermore, due to the pandemic, life sciences, health and housing are high in the preferences of investors. However, there is a waiting attitude of foreigners for the fact that especially in the smaller properties that are focused on buyers for visa, they cannot travel, especially the Chinese who constituted a large market share. Some, but few in number, are making purchases with virtual viewing, but surely in this market the phenomenon of “spring” is expected to appear when air travel starts at a normal pace and not with the current strict restrictions. There is also a large increase in demand in the market of seaside properties of all categories on islands mainly, as after the experience of the pandemic many seek safer holidays in their own property. Here, too, the “spring” phenomenon is expected to appear in Greece for the same reason as soon as air travel is back to normal.