A consortium between US gaming and hospitality operator Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and Greek construction giant GEK Terna has won the casino operating license for the development of a casino resort south of Athens.
Mohegan and GEK Terna partnered in the summer of 2019 to bid jointly for the license issued by the Hellenic Gaming Commission. After many delays caused by heavy bureaucracy, among other things, the gambling regulator finally announced this past Monday the winning bidder for the casino permit.
Hard Rock International, the other company that participated in the race, now has 10 days to either object the Gaming Commission’s decision or bring the matter to the Greek Council of State. It emerged last month that the company’s license application was rejected by gambling regulators as it was incomplete.
Hard Rock’s management said after reports about it being rejected surfaced that they could sue Greece and the government bodies tasked with selecting the preferred casino resort developer.
The recently granted casino license – which comes with a 30-year term – authorizes Mohehan and its Greek partner to build a €1 billion casino resort as part of the larger Hellinikon complex that is planned to be built at the site of the former Athens international airport just south of the Greek capital.
Mohegan and GEK Terna presented in the fall of 2019 their INSPIRE Athens concept for their joint casino resort. The resort would feature a casino with at least 120 table games and 1,200 slot machines, a luxury hotel, entertainment venues, a convention center, retail space, dining outlets, sprawling resort pools, and a “comprehensive mix of premium amenities.”
Major architectural firm Steelman Partners was tasked with the resort’s design. The Las Vegas-based company is no stranger to projects of this kind as its architects have been the masterminds behind some of the most iconic casino resort buildings to have been developed over the past few years.
The casino resort portion will occupy about 15,000 square meters of the overall 6.2-million-square-meter area designated for the development of the whole Hellinikon complex.
INSPIRE Athens will consist of two towers that will be connected with an infinity pool placed on the top of one of the skyscrapers and about halfway up the other. Of the concept, Paul Steelman of Steelman partners has said that their “overarching design was meant to be iconic in nature, yet characterize Athens’s historic architecture and rich culture while adopting a new stylistic narrative that inspires the region’s future.”
Mohegan CEO and Chairman Mario Kontomerkos said last year that they hoped INSPIRE Athens “would be the catalyst that sparks the entire development of the Hellinikon area into the coveted Athenian Riviera, forever redefining the modern identity of Greece.”
Work on Hellinikon Could Soon Kick Off
The selection of the preferred developer of the casino resort was a mandatory step before construction work on the whole €8 billion Hellinikon scheme could begin. Greek real estate developer Lamda Development was tapped as the company that would build the larger complex. The massive project is backed by Gulf and Chinese investors.
Lamda said earlier this month that the majority of pending issues preventing the start of work on the integrated resort were settled, and that the remaining issues were in the process of being settled. Once all hurdles are cleared, the company will be read to go forward with the implementation of its Hellinikon plans.
The project would be implemented in several phases. In the first five years, Lamda would seek to launch a large part of a planned park, a marina, a shopping center – the largest in Greece, the complex’s beachfront, the casino resort, and at least 800 residential units.
Once fully operational, the Hellinikon is projected to represent about 2% of Greece’s GDP.
Source: Greece Awards Hellinikon Project Casino License to Mohegan
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