Greece’s highest administrative court has ruled that a five-star hotel owned by a Dutch-Greek citizen in Athens must demolish its two upper floors within three months. Local residents near the Acropolis have successfully sued because the ten-storey hotel denies them a view of one of the world’s most important monuments.
It’s about Hotel Coco-Mat, a luxury bedding and mattress company owned by two Greek brothers, one of whom is married to a Dutchman and has been living in Amsterdam for years. In the Netherlands, Coco Mat has branches in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Arnhem.
Nice view of the pool
The hotel is located in the center of Athens on ten floors, with a rooftop swimming pool and a beautiful view of the Greek capital and the Acropolis. Now, because if it were up to the Greek Council of State, the two upper floors would be demolished in February at the latest.
The judges ruled that the municipality of Athens should not have issued a building permit for the hotel. Given the proximity of the Acropolis, the Ministry of Culture should have done so, following advice from the National Monuments Committee. He would not have issued a statement as to the height of the building.
In 2020, a year after the hotel opened, the judges had already reached a similar ruling, but the Municipality of Athens did nothing. The city now has three months to demolish the two upper floors.
The verdict is a great victory for the inhabitants of the region of Macrigany, at the foot of the Acropolis. Unlike the neighboring tourist areas of Plaka and Monastiraki, Makrigani was mainly a quiet residential area until a few years ago.
Thanks to a strong increase in tourism, room rents exploded and investors were eager to build profitable hotels. When they threatened to become too pervasive and the population was denied their views, deeds followed. A petition has the support of tens of thousands of Greeks in no time.
The Council of State places responsibility for this disaster on the government, in part because it did not set clear rules for building in McCrigany. There is now: No building may be more than 24 meters high. The Coco-Mat, the highest hotel in the area, exceeds this by 9 metres.
The company doesn’t want to comment, but it’s clear that it will demand significant compensation. After all, when construction began, Coco-Mat had a permit.
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