The Greek government has been taking steps to get the overdue integrated resort effort moving, previously restating a deadline of Sept. 30 for interest parties to submit bids. That date for tender offers was pushed back slightly to Oct. 4, with Hard Rock and Mohegan Gaming, the casino and entertainment arm of Connecticut’s Mohegan tribe, stepping forward as bidders for a 30-year gaming license in the Mediterranean country. The deadline for gambling operators to submit a proposal had been extended multiple times due to several factors including the official approvals and bureaucracy. These two are the only companies that now remain in the race for Greece’s Hellinikon integrated resort project.
The total cost of the Hellenikon Airport project is expected to be close to $9 billion. Being acclaimed as Europe’s first integrated casino resort and the first Hellinikon investment, the resort will include gaming-integrated hotels, convention facilities, entertainment shows, theme parks, luxury retail and fine dining, and is set to occupy approximately 15,000 square metres of the 6,200,000 square metre Hellinikon Project.
The wider multi-faceted construction is also slated to incorporate a metropolitan park, shops, offices, sports and conference facilities, luxury hotels, museums, malls, cultural venues, health centres, educational and research facilities and a marina.
Evangelos Karagrigoriou, chairman of the Hellenic Gaming Commission, said after receiving the submission offers:
“Today is a milestone for the implementation of the Hellinikon iconic investment and, in particular, the implementation of a world class tourism and leisure destination, with multiple benefits for the Greek economy, as this integrated resort casino is expected to be, according to standards that we have set in the RFP. After the tenders were submitted by the two participants, a major milestone for the success of the tender and the casino licensing procedure was completed. Following today’s process, Greece proves without a doubt that it can attract large foreign direct investments, winning the ‘growth bet’ for everyone”.
Jim Allen, Chairman and CEO of Hard Rock International said.
“We have always believed Athens to be one of the world’s great gateway cities and Hard Rock International envisions creating a must-see destination that will help draw from the over 120m annual guests across 74 countries, driving year-round tourism and being an economic driver for Greece.”
Assuming no further delays, HGC will announce either Hard Rock or Mohegan Gaming as the winning party next month. The gaming commission has not publicized deadlines for when construction on the casino will commence, or when it would like the venue to be operational. But Hard Rock believes it can have the venue operational by 2021 or 2022 depending on when it can start construction.
Hard Rock International also confirmed that if they are awarded the project it would take them about 24-26 months to complete the construction work.
HRI has previously strained that it plans to invest more than €1bn in the Greek project should it be successful, the firm has also stressed a timeline of nearly two years to complete construction work.
Mohegan have yet to reveal the finer details of its proposals for the site, but the firm has partnered with local contractor GEK Terna.