Inside Europe’s Largest Urban Regeneration Project – Ellinikon

How the historic grounds of the former Ellinikon International Airport in Athens, Greece are being transformed

The Ellinikon, an ambitious urban redevelopment project spanning 25 square kilometres and launched in 2021 by LAMDA Development, is transforming the historic grounds of the former Ellinikon International Airport in Athens into a groundbreaking urban haven. With an estimated worth of €8 billion, this initiative blends innovation, sustainability and culture to create a vibrant, forward-thinking community, making it the largest development project in Europe.

Nestled along the picturesque Athens Riviera, The Ellinikon offers panoramic views of the endless Aegean blue and breathtaking sunsets. It is designed to be a premier year-round destination, featuring cutting-edge residences, dynamic shopping districts, thriving business centres, exhilarating entertainment venues and tranquil retreats. This 15-minute city concept ensures everything residents and visitors need is within a short walk or bike ride, promoting convenience and sustainable living. 

Odisseas Athanasiou, CEO of LAMDA Development, shared in a recent press conference in Athens that the company has collaborated closely with McKinsey Consultants and architects Foster + Partners. Drawing inspiration from more than 17 international projects, including Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Canary Wharf in London, they developed a comprehensive case study to help ensure the success of this urban regeneration project. Athanasiou noted that successful projects often feature ‘star-chitects’. In line with this, The Ellinikon boasts several landmark structures designed by renowned architects. The Riviera Galleria by Kengo Kuma Architects has an impressive wavy canopy inspired by sailboats and will cover an area of 23,000 square metres. Featuring simple lines, open green spaces and harmonisation with the natural coastal environment, it blends contemporary design with elements from the Greek landscape, creating a premier fashion and culinary destination.

Other celebrated architects involved include Foster + Partners, designing the Riviera Tower, set to be Greece’s tallest skyscraper, and Bjarke Ingels Group, designing the 12-storey Park Rise residential building. Local architects such as 314 Architecture Studio, Deda & Architects and Tsolakis Architects bring a deep understanding of the surrounding landscape and expertise in utilising local materials. Iconic landmarks of the old airport are being repurposed or preserved, ensuring a balance between historical preservation and contemporary architecture. Branded residences feature, as does a new Mandarin Oriental hotel.

The Ellinikon emphasises environmental sustainability and outdoor living, with 2.4 square kilometres of green, open space, including a newly landscaped one-kilometre public beach and 50 kilometres of scenic walkways and cycle tracks. This green infrastructure is designed to enhance the quality of life for residents and to attract tourists, making it a model for sustainable urban development. Significant progress has been made on infrastructure, including the Poseidonos Underpass, uniting the coastal front with the urban core, and extensive site remediation. The Trachones stream project, part of the city’s flood protection system, demonstrates The Ellinikon’s commitment to climate resilience.


In May 2024, LAMDA Development announced 215 new apartments across three new residential developments at Little Athens, the latest residential enclave within The Ellinikon. The new properties include Promenade Heights, designed by 314 Architecture Studio; Atrium Gardens, designed by Deda & Architects; and Trinity Gardens, designed by Tsolakis Architects. These projects, targeting completion in Q4 2026, highlight The Ellinikon’s commitment to creating high-quality residential spaces. The economic impact of The Ellinikon is profound, with an estimated €14 billion in incremental state revenues and the creation of 85,000 new jobs. The project is expected to draw one million tourists annually, boosting the local economy and cultural exchange. Phase I of the project – including significant commercial developments, the regeneration of the Coastal Front and Agios Kosmas Marina, and approximately 1500 residential units – is projected to generate around €3.3 billion in cash proceeds upon completion.


The transformative journey of The Ellinikon in Athens offers a compelling blueprint for what could unfold when Dubai International Airport (DXB) moves to Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). Such a move could catalyse a similar transformation in Al Garhoud and its surrounding areas. The relocation would free up a significant expanse of land in one of Dubai’s oldest districts. This could pave the way for a mixed-use development blending residential, commercial and cultural spaces. Inspired by The Ellinikon’s seamless integration of living, working and leisure environments, Al Garhoud could evolve into a vibrant urban centre that balances modernity with tradition.

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