Corfu land sold off to developer
Andy Cornish: January 2017
The small but popular Corfu beach resort of Kassiopi looks set to undergo a multi-million euro facelift.
A deal to develop a massive hotel complex looks likely following the sell-off of a huge plot of public land to private developers for a reported €23 million.
The land deal paves the way for developers NHC Capital to begin a €77 million investment in luxury hotels and tourist facilities on undeveloped land.
The Greek government put 121 acres of hilltop land on the market as part of plans to pay off massive debts and overseas loans.
The property runs along 725 metres of coastline to the south-west of the resort and just north of the bay at Agios Stefanos.
Much of the land is close the Rothschild estate, a favourite holiday haunt of Prince Charles.
The new holiday complex is likely to be an up-market development of a luxury hotel, exclusive holiday villas and leisure facilities that will probably include a marina.
The land is currently undeveloped, mostly forest with wetland areas, a small lake called Vromolimni with the islet of Psilos Ena offshore and lies about 40m from Corfu's International Airport.
The land has been sold by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), a body set up specially to dispose of state -owned land to developers.
The Greek holiday resort of Kassiopi has long been popular with British holidaymakers,
It's dominated downmarket tavernas, clubs and karaoke bars with a few surviving traditional tavernas.
It boasts four pebble beaches spread across three small bays dotted around the headland although none are particularly good and better beaches can be found south at Avlaki.
Kassiopi is a favourite port of call for round-island boat trips, and there are plenty of tavernas and cafes around the harbour which is overlooked by a small castle.
The sale was approved on the last day of 2016 with NCH Capital the only bidder in the tender process, and the company has now secured a 99-year lease on the land.
The sale is one of several being negotiated by HRADF in a privatisation scheme that began in the early 1990s in ambitious plans to reduce Greece's public debts.
A portfolio of state-owned Greek assets is thought to be worth €50 million and include marine ports and airports as well as public utilities, railways and banks.
Land sales currently in the pipeline include beachfront plots at Afandou on Rhodes and the old Athens airport at Hellinikon.
HRADF was set up to oversee public/private partnerships and fast track planning and licensing to accelerate development.
Greek planning regulations have been overhauled to 'shift from a relative and defensive planning culture to a proactive and enabling one' according to the government.
Expect to see plenty more Greek state-owned assets go under the hammer.