Greece Aims to Build Smart Riviera City Worth $8 Billion: May Be Hiding a Twisted Secret

Ellinikon Marina 12 photos
Photo: The Ellinikon
Interactive MapSmart DevicesEllinikon HomeEllinikon MarinaEllinikon PlansEllinikonEllinikon RenderingExperience CentreExperience CentreEllinikon ParkEllinikon Park
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a smart city? Well, it seems that Greece has asked itself that very question, and now, proceeds to build what they’re calling “Europe’s greatest urban regeneration project.”
Folks, Ellinikon can be considered one of Europe’s most ambitious endeavors, and that alone is based on the level of cash that needs to be poured into this project to make it happen. €8.2 billion ($8 billion at current exchange rates) is destined to create what will ultimately become one of the most advanced, clean, and eco-friendly living communities on Earth.

Wait a minute; let me slow things down. First of all, what the heck is Ellinikon? Well, as I mentioned, it’s designed to be a place where people can live, work, play, and even attract tourists with everything the modern age has to offer. But where is this thing going to be built? After all, Athens is not the sort of city that’s just sitting on undeveloped land; nearly every inch of this region is reserved for business, homes, and ruins from societies of old.

If you’re aware of what this region has to offer, and what’s been built in south-eastern Athens over the past few years, you know that there’s a former airport that tatters the region, but the Olympic center used in 2004 is also taking up a bunch of unused space. It’s here that this new “city within a city” is being built, with site preparation already underway.

Ellinikon Park
Photo: The Ellinikon
However, it’s really difficult to attract investors and such with nothing more than an empty plot of land, so the crew running this show, Lamda Development S.A. has set up an “experience” designed to offer a taste of what this futuristic habitat will include and what your life may be like as an Ellinikon resident or passerby.

I say passerby because we’re told that this city will be open to the public, letting anyone who may be interested in its luxuries to simply walk on through, dine out, or sleep under a bridge if they wanted to. I think you understand what I'm referring to, and I don’t think residents of this Athenian Riviera will be willing to let just anyone for a stroll through town.

Because the only palpable feature we have so far is the Experience Centre, let’s take a look to see how folks are being attracted to this space. Part of the center is meant to give us a taste of what outdoor living may be like on Ellinikon and the sort of flora and fauna we may meet while strolling all 2,000,000 square meters (around 21.5 million square feet) of greenery. Biodiversity seems to be a goal here.

Experience Centre
Photo: The Ellinikon
Another area of the center allows us to witness the sort of tech residents will have access to and even tinker with an interactive model of the establishment. As we explore more of what’s in store, one area showcases the “smart residences” we can sit back and relax in once everything is completed, but no details on exactly what’s in store. And finally, we can see the plans for the “rejuvenated” marina and coast that lines the watery edge of Ellinikon. That's it so far.

Then again, there’s a video based around this project, and judging by the level of work needed to complete said video, it looks like a few hundred thousand Euro have already been burned up. Nonetheless, it’s explicative and goes through just about every tidbit of information you may need about this resort-o-city. We can see the sort of lifestyle in place for residents, and might I say, it comes across as rather utopic, but in a weird way.

If we dive deeper, we’ll realize that there’s so much more going on here, like how land has been signed over to nothing more than the IRC, or Integrated Resort Casino. Not sure why casinos have something to do with all this, but we could really be looking forward to nothing more than a massive party city. If that’s the case, I can see this project being successful. Otherwise, I have but one question: have you noticed how cramped the remainder of Athens is around that area? And if you did, what do you think is going to happen over the next few years? I personally feel that this is all a nice daydream, but I'm no residential developer so don’t take my word for it.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
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A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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