The “torrential” multi-page omnibus bill concerning spatial planning and urban planning, which the Ministry of Environment and Energy (YPEN) wants to have been passed by the Parliament within 10 days (although there is no reason to hurry…), hides a lot of interesting details, due to its enormous size and technical content… Nevertheless, quite a few “specific” and favourable regulations for a variety of interests and stakeholders are gradually beginning to surface, which are included in the bill’s provisions, more or less obviously, but with clear references.

And since, as it has been demonstrated in many cases so far, Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, who has the legislative initiative, is not particularly concerned with the technical issues of the YPEN bills or their details, but mostly with their political content, we should rather focus our attention, regarding the said regulations, on the “technocrat” Deputy Minister (and professor and spatial planning expert) Dimitris Oikonomou.

One of these “favors” to stakeholders proposed by the government in Parliament (when at the same time, with the provisions about off-plan construction, it reduces the value of the property of many people) concerns the increase of permitted floor area and number of floors in… skyscrapers! And more specifically in tall buildings!

Which are the planned tall buildings? The only ones we are aware of are those of LAMDA in the Hellinikon project! There, the company has on one hand the skyscraper of the casino of Mohegan-GEK TERNA and on the other hand some 10 tall buildings – characterized as such by the law, the contract between the State and the Latsis group and the approved master plan – scattered throughout the former airport.

Thus, according to the provisions of the said bill, if passed as it is, the skyscrapers (as colloquially called) and the tall buildings (as defined by law) in Hellinikon gain additional floors for special facilities, such as renewable energy sources or even swimming pools!

That is, if LAMDA decides to build an entire floor (or part of it) as an indoor (or outdoor) pool, this floor (or part of it) will not be counted towards the total allowable building area! And so, they will be able to add the corresponding square meters on another floor!

The same will apply in other cases, such as for covered parking lots (above-ground garages) but also for floors “required for the static adequacy of the building and/or due to reasons of seismic protection” – a definition that is extremely vague and general, in order to fit various substantiated approaches….

Who gains what

In fact, those who construct tall buildings earn “free” floors, by law. In other words, they will be able to build more square meters of floor area than they could until today. And the only ones who are allowed to do that, having the State’s permission, are the investors in Hellinikon. That is, LAMDA Development and the Latsis Group, for the most part.

We remind you that, coincidentally, the “technocrat” Deputy Minister, Dimitris Oikonomou had worked as a consultant for LAMDA DEVELOPMENT for the Hellinikon project, before assuming office as Deputy Minister. And the fact that he held this position became a controversy at the beginning of the governance of New Democracy, in 2019, although he and the YPEN failed to see any incompatibility, as “there was no issue of interference”. It remains to be seen whether the same contentions will be repeated in Parliament when Mr. Oikonomou, as the competent Deputy Minister, will have to explain to the MPs these regulations concerning the tall buildings in Hellinikon, about which he had advised Lamda Development – with a price, of course.

The exact content of the bill

In Article 100 of the bill, the definitions for all the meanings of the New Building Regulation are given de novo and law 4067/2012 is amended. Paragraph 97 of the said Article states that “Tall buildings are buildings that have a height higher than the designated” referring to what is stipulated in Article 15 of law 4067/2012, “based on designated building restrictions set by special decrees. »

In case 33 of Article 104 of the bill, exceptions from the total allowable building area are given, specifically and only for tall buildings. And this in addition to exceptions provided by other Paragraphs due to special use (eg hotels) or similar cases. Specifically, the provisions are as follows:

“33. Especially concerning tall buildings, the following areas are not counted towards the total allowable building area, given that they are implemented within the allowed coverage:

33a. Floors or sections of floors that include exclusively electromechanical installations necessary for the operation of the building and the support of its energy design, for the management and saving of water, RES, High Performance Cogeneration Units (CHP), for the use of water tanks or septic tanks or swimming pools, as defined by the special provisions governing them.

33b. Areas required by current regulations for active and passive fire protection, in particular escape stairwells and elevators.

33c. Floors required for the static adequacy of the building and/or for reasons of seismic protection, if no main use is installed in them.

33d. The covered parking lots required, according to the relevant provisions, to serve the needs of the building and the facilities necessary for the operation of these lots (above-ground garages), provided they are implemented within the allowed coverage and up to a height not exceeding 10% of the total height. For the construction of tall buildings, derogations from the provisions of Articles 13 and 14 may be granted, by decision of the Minister of Environment and Energy, after the opinion of the Central Council of Architecture. In case these buildings are located within a declared archeological site, historical site, or other protected area, in accordance with the provisions of Law 3028/2002 (A ‘153), the consent of the Ministry of Culture and Sports is required.”

A simple reading of the above provisions reveals the favorable regulations for tall buildings.