Athens infrastructure: how will new projects change urban logistics and real estate investors?
Greece’s economy is recovering from the crisis. According to the National Statistical Service (ELSTAT), after an eight-year recession in 2017, Greek GDP grew four quarters in a row.
One of the main growth drivers is the tourism sector. According to research firm Euromonitor International, today Athens is the second city in Europe in terms of the growth rate of tourists (the first is Greek Heraklion): in 2017 almost 5 million people visited the capital of Greece, 10% more than in 2016. Athens International Airport accepted in 2017, 14.4 million foreign passengers – 12% more than a year ago.
With the number of tourists, the volume of investments in this sector is growing. In March 2017, the European Union announced plans to invest 1.3 billion euros in the infrastructure of Greece in order to complete projects started in 2007–2013 by 2020. A third of the amount will be spent on improving the transport infrastructure of Athens: mainly to expand the network of the Moscow metro.
Today, the Athens metro includes three lines with a total length of 85 km. The first (green) line began operation in 1869, making the Athens metro the third oldest underground system in the world after London and New York. The second and third lines opened in 2000 and made life easier for residents of the capital: for example, today a trip from Syntagma, the central square of Athens, to the northern suburb of Halandri, located 12 km from the center, takes 45 minutes by car, and only 14 by metro. About 1.4 million people use the metropolitan metro daily.
Third line extension
The third (blue) line of the Athens metro runs from the northeast from Dukissis Plakentias station (which is connected by land railway to Athens airport) to the south-west to Agia Marina station. The main objective of the project is to extend this line through the western suburbs of Athens to the port of Piraeus.
The project to expand the third metro line is the Attiko Metro company, its total cost exceeds 467 million euros (of which 261 million euros is invested in the EU project). Work began back in 2012, but was delayed by three years due to technical problems and errors in project management. Now, as promised by the Minister of Transport of Greece, Christ Spirtzis, three new stations, Agia Varavara, Koridallos and Nika, will begin work by 2019, and by the end of 2020 the project will be completed in full.
As part of the project, 7.5 km of tunnels will be equipped, 6 new stations will be built, 16 new trains will be put into operation. The third line of the Athens metro, 50 km long, will consist of 27 stations, and the new section will serve 132 thousand passengers a day. Expansion of the third line will allow many residents of Athens to refuse to travel on this route by car, which will lead to a reduction in carbon emissions in the city by 120 tons per day.
As a result, the largest Greek port will be located on the same metro line with the airport and the historical center of the capital: the direct road from Piraeus to Athens International Airport will take 55 minutes, while now it has to spend almost two hours and make several transfers.
Construction of the fourth line
The construction of the fourth (yellow) metro line is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the EU today, which costs 1.45 billion euros. Two radial branches will connect the city center with its northern suburbs. The length of the entire line of 30 stations, divided into five sections, will be 33.5 km.
The first part, which is almost 30 km long, and includes 14 stations located closer to the center in particularly densely populated areas of Athens, will stretch from Alsos Viku station to Goody station. Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2019 and be completed in 2026. In August 2017, the submission of applications for participation in the tender was completed.
According to the government’s plans, the new line will significantly reduce travel time for a large number of Athens residents and tourists (for example, the road from Alsos Viku station to Athens center will be 10 minutes instead of 30) and reduce carbon dioxide emissions (by about 280 tons daily). Every day, only the first section of the fourth line will move 220 thousand passengers.
Tram to Piraeus
Another infrastructure project in which the EU invests is the expansion of the tramway to Piraeus. The authorities’ desire to provide convenient logistics to Piraeus is understandable: this is one of the largest passenger ports in Europe, an important transit point for the “new silk road” (after acquiring 51% of its shares by the Chinese company COSCO in 2016) and a large suburb of Athens, where 164 thousand people live . person.
In order to link the center of Athens with Piraeus, in April 2014, construction of a tramline worth 61.5 million euros was launched. The project will open 13 tram stations, 11 thousand people will be able to use the tram network daily. Work is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.