Greek officials ease standoff on Athens development project

ATHENS, Greece — Greek officials have eased a standoff on a key bailout-related land development project by diluting demands for much of the plot at the former Athens international airport to be listed as an archaeological site.

A council of senior Culture Ministry archaeologists decided late Tuesday that only about 4.5 percent of the 620-hectare (1,500-acre) coastal area at Hellenikon should be listed.

Ancient cemeteries and a prehistoric settlement have been found in the area.

The prime urban plot was sold under the country's creditor-mandated privatization program to a consortium led by Greece's Lamda Development, which is planning an 8-billion-euro ($9.4-billion) development. The project will include a large park, housing, shopping areas and hotels.

Declaring the area an archaeological site would not fully preclude development, but could increase development costs. Tuesday's ruling requires government ratification.

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