In order to lighten the national debt, in 2012 National Bank of Greece put the Astir Palace complex up for sale, just south of Athens. Negotiations have finally closed with the acquisition of the complex for 393 million euros by the investment firm Apollo, which will undertake major renovations.
The "Astir Palace" complex includes the Arion (181 rooms - opened in 1967) and Nafsika-Westin (162 rooms - hosted its first guests in 1980) hotels, two properties operated by Marriott International (since it bought Starwood Hotels & Resorts). The resort also includes the Aphrodite hotel, now closed down, as well as a group of residences and a marina. The two existing hotels, the marina and the bungalows will benefit from a vast, 18-month renovation program, and the abandoned building will be rebuilt to create, in particular, fifteen or so luxury villas, restaurants, bars, boutiques, meeting rooms, sports and leisure facilities.
Stergios Pitsiorlas, Chairman of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), declared: "The favorable outcome of the Asteras sale is not only a significant investment agreement, but an excellent example of beneficial and productive cooperation between all public institutions and the private sector paving the way for the country's growth."
The Greek Administrative Court had initially prevented the implementation of the development plan initially scheduled in 2013 (that included the development of 100 vacation homes). The latter would have caused major damage to the natural and urban environment. Greece and the fund, a subsidiary of Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IV LP, came to an agreement last January for a specific plan, respecting rules established by the Court. Within this agreement the resort's rooms will remain operational until November 20, after which modernisation works will begin and should last close to 18 months.
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