Hard Rock International and GEK TERNA Group have marked the official beginning of their partnership in Greece with a special event announcing details and a broad timeline for the opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Athens in 2026. As part of the ambitious “The Ellinikon” development, Hard Rock Athens will be located on the Athens Riviera.
Billed as a unique option among European destinations, the one billion euros development will feature a world-class casino floor, upscale meeting and convention space, a cutting-edge entertainment venue, a premier retail zone, globally sought-after food and beverage options, a Rock Spa and Pool Complex, and a five-star luxury hotel.
The consortium signed a concession agreement with the government in early June, bringing together loose ends that have seen heated competition for a place in the partnership finally going to another US Tribal Gaming origination company, followed by an unexplained pullout, and the contingency eventually going to Hard Rock with a 51% stake for the gaming and hospitality company and 49% share held by GEK TERNA Group which will oversee or complete 100% of the resort’s construction.
The ground is expected to be broken in early 2023 and development will last nearly 3 years. Full operations begin in 2026.
New Design Elements Unveiled
Compared to an earlier vision of the complex, architecture and thematic elements will be more in harmony with the locale as well as surrounding developments around the massive Hellenikon Metropolitan Park on the land formerly occupied by the Hellenikon International Airport.
The development writ large was scheduled to begin in 2008 but was shelved during the world financial crisis. Work began again in 2020 with a full completion date for the metro park expected in 2029. The site will see some of Greece’s largest buildings at over 200 meters (60 stories) along with a marina, shops, and luxury homes.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Athens will include key design elements such as open spaces, water features, and gardens, with green spaces covering about 205,000 m2 or 50 acres.
The Tower will have three distinct orientations, each paying homage to the sea, Acropolis, or Mount Hymettus, and will symbolize a harmonic convergence of land, sky, and sea.
Inside, visitors will find a massive casino floor of more than 160,000 sq feet hosting two thousand electronic game machines and 200 gaming tables. The live theater will accommodate 3,000 with a stage that can extend outside to entertain a total of more than 10,000 for outdoor events. The outdoor concert lawn is inspired by the ancient Greek amphitheater.
More inside/outside connections are designed into the project with the highest rooftop terrace in the country including a pool deck, bars, Body Rock Fitness, and the Rock Spa.
Guest accommodations include over 1,000 rooms and suites with well over 3,000 total beds. All external rooms will have views of Athens, some including the Parthenon, or will be overlooking the waterfront.
What the Partners are Saying
Hard Rock International Chairman, Jim Allen said: “We are thrilled to announce the partnership with GEK TERNA Group and further expand Hard Rock’s reach across the globe in the great City of Athens.
“This development will bring over 3,000 permanent jobs to the people of Greece and we look forward to bring our unique brand of entertainment and provide an unparalleled experience for guests of all ages.”
George Peristeris, Chairman and CEO of GEK TERNA Group added: “This development will create a premium tourism spot, expected to offer employment to thousands of people, yield significant revenues to the public sector, and add value to Greece’s brand.
“Along with Hard Rock, we are realizing a private investment of over 1 billion euros, reaffirming our trust in Greece’s prospects and potential.”
Hard Rock operates in over 70 countries.
Source: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Athens to Open in 2026, FTN News, July 6, 2022