US casino operator Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment expects its planned luxury integrated gambling resort INSPIRE Athens on the site of the former Athens International Airport to be ready and operational by 2026.
The company provided a timeline for the project for the first time after it was announced as the winner of the tender for the development and operation of a resort complex with a casino.
In the summer of 2019, Mohegan formed a consortium with Greek development company GEK Terna to participate in a 30-year tender for the construction and operation of a planned hotel complex with a casino. In October last year, the Mohegan project won over a competing bid from the American hotel and gambling company Hard Rock International.
The hotel will be built on the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport on the waterfront of Athens.
INSPIRE Athens project
Mohegan intends to invest at least one billion euros in a project called INSPIRE Athens. The resort complex will feature:
- casino with slot machines and table games,
- luxury hotel,
- first-class entertainment venues,
- gourmet restaurants,
- retail space,
- conference center and many other amenities.
After winning the tender, Mohegan will now have to sign a contract for their project and agree it with the auditors and the Greek parliament.
Mohegan interim CEO Ray Pineault said at the Delphi Economic Forum last week:
We currently expect 12 to 18 months after the completion of the contract negotiation, permitting and design process. We expect INSPIRE Athens to be fully operational by 2025 or 2026.
The planned resort will be part of a larger renovation program for the former Athens International Airport. This larger project was named Hellinikon and was assigned to Greek developer Lamda Development.
The entire project is estimated at eight billion euros and involves the transformation of a defunct airport into a multipurpose complex, which will include:
- residential buildings,
- MICE (meetings, conferences and exhibitions),
- shopping centers and more.
Lamda won a government tender for the construction of the Ellinikon facility back in 2014, but various delays prevented the company from starting work on the planned complex. The company has yet to hand over control of the land on which he was to build Ellinikon and its many amenities.
The current Greek government, which came to power in the summer of 2019, has pledged to expedite the project, and it looks like Lamda is finally close to embarking on the largest holiday plan in the country. The company said this week that it hopes to start construction in the fall if it gets government approval next month.