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CityLink

07 May 14 | RE+D Magazine
CityLink

Data

Firstname
CityLink
 
Total Surface:
65,000 sqm
 
Year of operation:
2004
 
Developer:
PICAR S.A.
 
Owner:
Piraeus Bank
 
A listed monument of the country's modern culture,the Army Pension Fund Building in the heart of Athens, it revived thanks to the intervention of Piraeus Group and is now named CityLink.
Τhe largest and most glamorous department store in the Balkans, a state-of-the-art gym, fifteen designer stores, three conference halls, a restaurant, atmospheric cafes, and the head offices of Piraeus Bank are housed in the renovated Army Pension Fund Building in the heart of Athens. A listed monument of the country's modern culture, it revived thanks to the intervention of Piraeus Group and is now named CityLink.

The work was implemented in the context of Piraeus Group's strategy consisting in essentially contributing to the upgrading of the historic centre of Athens, highlighting the city's cultural elements. The restoration, upgrading and commissioning of the historic building was completed with the pedestrianisation of Voukourestiou street, in its section between Panepistimiou and Stadiou streets - a donation of Piraeus Bank to the city of Athens. In the context of the same strategy, Piraeus will have restoration works started on the building located at the corner of Amerikis and Stadiou streets, which is owned by the Spiliopoulion Hospital "Saint Helen" and Foundation for the Deaf, in 2007.

Currently, there are 20 businesses operating in CityLink and 1500 new jobs of various trades have been created in a building that was visited by three million people in its first year of operation. CityLink is about to become again the meeting place of Athenians, pursuing a tradition according to which it is frequented by politicians, artists, intellectuals, figures of the business-financial community, as well as theatre lovers and those who wish to experience modern, luxury shopping and well being.
 
A historic building, jewel of the city centre


The Army Pension Fund building was built on the eve of World War II. The complex, made up of 9 buildings, was constructed in the period 1929 - 1940 on a plot covering an area of approx. 9,000 sq.m. and used to house the royal barns before being transferred to the Army Pension Fund by King George I. For many years the complex accommodated stores and restaurants on the ground level and public service offices on the other floors. The recession period started in the 70's. The cinema crisis and gradual changes in the market place altered the Complex and its immediate surrounding alike: traditional quality meeting places died away; people's habits changed; market places were relocated; traffic conditions downgraded old urban junctions.

Finally, in 1999 Piraeus Bank Group was awarded, following tender, the restoration of the building and its operation for 50 years. The Group's principal concern was to maintain the value of the complex, so that it could remain a benchmark in the urban landscape for many more years. The success of the interventions relied on the balance between safeguarding the monumental wealth of the mid-war period and the modernising and redesigning individual spaces. The starting point of the entire effort was the meticulous restoration of the quality features that exhaled the majestic atmosphere of their time - seducing contemporary people.

The entire renovated CityLink has got the art deco design of the Greek mid-war era reigning on its facades, with the purity of the initial design and the validity of an attentive restoration using modern materials: the ledge on Stadiou street has been re-illuminated, the Byzantium arcade gained its glamour, the large staircases have been highlighted, the "old-fashioned" pergolas were reconstructed on the penthouse. The new era frames the restoring operations with the splendor of the contrast, keeping step with the present and projecting the work to the future.

The complex was commissioned in 2004 when the departmental store in Panepistimiou street started operating. Gradually, other uses - theatres, cafes, restaurants, stores, a gym, offices - were given to the public. Since January 2007 the building has been fully operational in glamour, justifying the business decision that had been made by the Management of Piraeus Bank to implement this major venture. 


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