A crumbling former Athens airport complex is set to be transformed into one of Europe's biggest coastal resorts. But, as Grace Pascoe reports, thousands of stranded migrants may delay lift-off for the Greek developers.
A former Athens airport could be set for a make-over. A plan for a 7 billion euro cash injection hopes to transform the crumbling airfield into a fancy seaside resort town. But there may be turbulence ahead, Hellenikon's once-busy arrivals terminal is now home to over 3,000 migrants and refugees. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) MAN FROM AFGHANISTAN LIVING AT FORMER AIRPORT, ALI AHMAD JAFARI, SAYING: "We don't know what is going to happen next. We have no idea." Greece's government plans to move the migrants to another camp by the end of July. SOUNDBITE) (English) LAMDA DEVELOPMENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ODISSEAS ATHANASSIOU, SAYING: "I hope they will move them in the right time frame. If not, yes it will be a problem." Previous efforts to turn the 620-hectare plot into a profitable venture have all fallen through - including an attempt in 2011 to build a financial district similar to London's Canary Wharf. But if this ambitious scheme gets off the ground, the development would be one of Greece's biggest ever. Potentially leading more investors towards the debt-ridden country, Kick-starting the economy after seven years of recession. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LAMDA DEVELOPMENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ODISSEAS ATHANASSIOU, SAYING: "We believe this project is a game-changer... because it is going to change the psychology of foreign capital towards investment in Greece as we are talking about a seven billion euros capex (capital expenditure) investment across multiple of sectors." Lamda Developers intend to spend 1.5 billion euros on roads and infrastructure And 5.5 on 8,000 homes, hotels, shops and a 494-acre park.