The government has tabled a draft law to create a state-owned company that will undertake an ambitious urban renewal plan to revitalise central Athens.
The company, according to the bill tabled yesterday, will be called “Athens Urban Renewal S.A.”, and will be similar to a previous company that was shut down in 2014 – which was named Unification of Archaeological Sites and Urban Renewal (EAXA) – as part of Athens’ bailout memorandum commitments to shrink the public sector.
The new company will be under the purview of the ministry of state and the infrastructure ministry, rather than the environment ministry, which normally oversees such projects.
The plans to date involve a renewal project in Athens’ so-called commercial triangle – which covers all the commercial streets and avenues in the heart of Athens – and also provides for the remodeling of the historic refugee apartment buildings on Alexandras Avenue, which were built in the Bauhaus architectural style in the early 1920’s, to house refugees from Asia Minor.
According to the draft law, the new company will have authority to restore abandoned, vacant, and unused buildings, with the permission of the owners or property managers.
It will also undertake projects to support innovative start-up businesses in the areas under its authority, and it will promote cultural and athletic activities targeting youth and vulnerable social groups.
Athens Urban Renewal S.A. will receive funding from the Public Investments Programme, from grants, bequests, sponsorships, and contributions from legal entities and individuals.
The initial capital of the company will be 50 million euros.
By joint ministerial decision of the ministers of state, infrastructure, and finance, specific rules will be adopted to regulate the use of revenues from the company.
The new company will have an eight-member board of directors, which will be selected from a registry of public administration managers and appointed by joint ministerial decision.
At the same time, an eight-member Advisory Technical Council will be appointed for a three-year term.