BVIC S.A. received the approval of the Environmental Impact Report for the shopping mall in Votanikos from the Municipal Council of Athens. This was the final approval necessary prior to obtaining the building permit, which management expects to receive shortly. Moreover, the tenant mix is expected to be concluded by the end of the month. BVIC will then be able to start the process of leasing the mall. It has already witnessed very strong demand from occupiers given the mall's critical mass and location as well as the scarcity of prime retail development in Greece.
The company has made significant progress on the Votanikos project. The construction of the mall commenced in April 2007, based on partial building permits and, during the year, the demolition of the existing buildings on the site and its excavation were completed. In 2008, a building permit covering the development of 32,160 m² of basement area out of a total basement area of 81,000 m² was issued. That allowed the Group to continue with the development without any delays. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2009 with expected total land and construction costs of circa €250 million.
On July 14th, the master plan for the joint regeneration of Votanikos was approved by the Municipal Council of Athens. The infrastructural works, for which a contractor has already been appointed, are anticipated to commence in October 2008, following the approval of the Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works. The regeneration project encompasses the creation of a park of 120,000 m², as well as the Panathinaikos sports complex, that will consist of a football stadium of at least 40,000 seats and two indoor halls for the basket ball and volleyball teams as well as the smaller club departments. Moreover, the new town hall of Athens will be developed adjoining the stadium.
Aris Vovos, CEO of BVIC, said: "The shopping mall in Votanikos contributes to the redevelopment efforts in the area and we are very pleased to be able to take part in the largest regeneration project in Athens."