Posted on: June 23, 2022, 06:22h.
Last updated on: June 23, 2022, 10:03h.
Hard Rock International and Gek Terna are putting their plan to build an integrated resort (IR) in Greece in motion. Just weeks after receiving concession approval, they’re anxious to get “Inspire Athens” moving forward.
Hard Rock and Gek Terna announced Wednesday that the project is ready to become a reality. The two confirmed their partnership on the project, laying out what the IR means to the casino industry and the local economy.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Athens, or Inspire Athens, depending on what name they ultimately choose, will open in 2026. It will feature a luxury hotel, gaming floor, meeting and conference spaces, and an entertainment venue. In addition, it will offer a variety of dining options, Hard Rock’s Rock Spa and Pool Complex, and a high-end retail promenade.
Taking Cues from Ancient Greece
Hard Rock explains that the project takes hints and influence from basic Greek elements, including the sea, art, and mythology. The architecture combines these elements with modern architectural requirements. The result is a modern IR that blends seamlessly with Greece’s long-standing traditional landscape.
The project’s design features include open spaces, gardens, water features, and other elements. It covers close to 205,000 square meters (50.65 acres).
This development will bring over 3,000 jobs to the people of Greece, and we look forward to bringing our unique brand of entertainment to provide an unparalleled experience for guests of all ages,” stated Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen.
The casino features 200 tables and 2,000 gaming machines. The project also includes Athens’ highest outdoor rooftop terrace, with bars and a large fitness room.
There is also a tower with more than 1,000 guest rooms and suites that overlook the waterway or the views across Athens to Parthenon. The inspiration for the central Tower comes from nautical references, incorporating waves, sails, and a lighthouse in its design.
The Tower will span three levels and correspond to three reference points. These make up an imaginary triangle that includes the Acropolis, Mount Hymettus, and the sea. Hard Rock says that the iconic shape will be a symbol for the region. It will also refer to the importance of land, sea, and sky.
Going Around in Circles
The Mediterranean is finding new life as a global casino destination. Melco Resorts & Entertainment, with its City of Dreams Mediterranean resort, is convinced Cyprus is the place to be.
Hard Rock sees Greece as the perfect spot, although it almost missed out on the opportunity. It initially competed with Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) for the rights to build the property. MGE initially won the battle, but then decided it preferred South Korea.
As a result, Hard Rock, which Greek officials accused of not being financially suitable, was back in business. Gek Terna now makes the partnership official and foresees a bright future for the $1.2-billion project.
This development will create a top tourism spot, expected to offer employment to thousands, yield significant revenue to the public sector and add value to Greece’s brand,” stated George Peristeris, CEO of GEK TERNA Group.
Construction will start sometime early next year, taking around three years to complete. That puts 2026 as the target for the IR to have its grand opening.