It shouldn’t be too surprising that Athens, Greece, the birthplace of Western culture, also will be home to one of the largest, most ambitious urban regeneration pro- jects in Europe — The Ellinikon, a city within a 24-hour live/work/play city to be built adjacent to central Athens and close to Piraeus Port and the International Airport.
Encompassing residential, office, retail and hospitality uses around a massive core park, the Ellinikon is the largest private development in Greek history, building a smart city on the site of Athen’s former international airport.
“Marking a new era in Greek and Athenian history, The Ellinikon will become a leading marketplace for ideas that change the world,” said Odisseas Athanasiou, chief executive officer of Lamda Development, a holding company specializing in the development, investment and management of real estate, which is building The Ellinikon. “Delivering innovative spaces designed to empower dynamic, shared ex- periences is the path forward for both local and global development. The Ellinikon, at the crossroads of the world, will serve as a new model for achieving this ambition in a way that is both growth-oriented and sustainable. Visitors will become part of Athens’ unique new story, uniting historical landmarks of the past and pioneering plans for the future.”
The literal and figurative core of the property will be The Ellinikon Park, the coastal park at the heart of The Ellinikon and a showcase for sustainability, the company said. Lamda Development has assembled leading urban planners, architects and engineers to drive a new global era of sustainability in the park. With Sasaki at the design helm and an international team working on the development’s other aspects, the Ellinikon Park will be Europe’s largest coastal park at 600 acres, with a goal of setting a global precedent for environmentally conscious design. The first phase of The Ellinikon Park is now open to the public with seasonal programming and more than 50 kilometers of cyclist and pedestrian pathways. Once complete, this will be the first smart park in Greece, incorporating seamless connectivity, AR navigation, technology’s leading transportation systems and smart energy systems.
Some 70% of the park will use natural areas management techniques to demonstrate Greek landscape restoration, with the remaining 30% focusing on high interaction areas. It will include over 31,000 new trees from 86 different tree species, as well as over one million plants – 70% of which are native to the region and therefore do not require additional irrigation. All plant materials are sourced directly within Greece.
The Park is targeting carbon neutrality within 35 years of completion and will be entirely self-sufficient with respect to irrigation and electricity, covering its own needs and completely offsetting its carbon footprint.
It will connect to the retail district and other areas of The Ellinikon through a network of 50 kilometers of walkways, 30 kilometers of cycle lanes and EV facilities that serve the entire development, and will host cultural events, sports and recreation.
Surrounding the park will be various residences, including the Riviera Tower (designed by Foster + Partners, and the first high-rise residential tower in Greece), beachfront villas, residences in the hotels and luxury private villas wrapped in advanced, biophilic design.
The Cove Residences are centered on open, communal greens and furnished with shared amenities such as a fitness area and playground — offering ideal access to the sea, the sun and the style of The Ellinikon. Positioned around The Ellinikon Park will be an array of fine apartment buildings.
Two new office towers will create a new sustainable business hub, with Lamda targeting the highest LEED international green standards. The high-rise office tower will be the tallest in the country, while a mixed-use tower will combine Grade A+ offices, targeted to be accredited with LEED and Well credentials, a 200-key business hotel, including conference facilities and other leisure services, essential retail and client-friendly food and beverage settings. The buildings will connect to the rest of the city by two new metro stations and a new tram line.
Three hotels — the Riviera Hotel, the Beach Hotel, as well as the Hotel in the Vouliagmenis Mixed-Use Tower — will house separate collections of one- to four-bedroom apartments, branded and managed by the selected international hotel operators.
Along the coastline, Lamda will locate retail, attractions, a 310-berth arena and a new beach along a waterfront promenade that will connect the beach with the park. The Riviera Galleria will house global brands in 22,000 square meters of retail, leisure and food beneath a dramatic canopy. A 185,000-square-meter commercial hub will host lifestyle retail in a green development. The Retail Park will offer a collection of large-scale “big box” retail units.
Bioclimatic, indoor-outdoor hybrid architecture and green facades provide thermal insulation, carbon dioxide reduction and air purification. Coastline resilience is aided through environmentally engineered sensors to prevent flooding along the scenic coast.
To promote the property, Lamda has opened The Ellinikon Experience Centre, an immersive showcase located in a former airplane hangar. The center offers five thematic zones and 22 exhibits detailing the history of The Ellinikon, from its use as an airport and air force base to the current development plans.
Using virtual and augmented reality, adventurous guests can cruise the coastline and see The Ellinikon Riviera aboard a simulated speedboat. Visitors can experience the panoramic views of the park and sea from a flagship residential tower or head to the Botanical Library to stop and smell the flowers with a display of the prevailing flora of the park while the Night Garden Dome imitates the park’s nightlife through light strips, sounds and scents as real as the world outside. Visitors are also welcome to take in the project’s grand scope through the largest miniature model ever created in Greece, including 22,000 individual pieces at 1:625 scale.
“At The Ellinikon Experience Centre, the sheer scale and ambition for the development comes to life before the eyes of guests from every corner of the globe,” said Athanasiou. “Visitors can touch, hear and even smell what’s to come at The Ellinikon today through a fully immersive and experiential journey. The best part is that The Ellinikon is already here. The voyage we’re offering is truly unmatched and unprecedented in Greece, Europe and the world.”