The trend to change the way of life and living has started for a few decades but the pandemic was the catalyst that accelerated the developments.
People are looking for more space, public and private. More green but also modern infrastructures, sustainable, more user-friendly, that respond to environmental challenges, as they become more and more visible.
Those of us who are active in the development of modern building infrastructures know all this. If we want to respond to the wishes and needs of citizens and keep up with developments, we must go beyond the beaten track and show the way for an even better relationship with the cities in which we live.
At DIMAND, this is what we strive to do with all our projects. We don’t just hand over the keys to a new building. We are looking for something that will break the monotony of the urban landscape, satisfy the needs but also the senses of the user and improve the daily life not only of them but also of the residents. We don’t just aim to develop buildings, our ambition is to create the cities we want to live in.
The city of Piraeus and in particular the area where the former facilities of the Papastratos tobacco factory were located, was for us the first canvas of this approach. An area virtually abandoned, hit by the economic crisis and incommensurate with the rapid development of shipping. Old and forgotten buildings in the streets behind the port, were in stark contrast to the luxurious offices that the Greek shipowners are developing in the surrounding area. The factory was reborn and found new uses. The wider area has been regenerated and is now a magnet for both relocating companies and residents themselves, who are returning to live in the neighborhood where they grew up.
The project seemed utopian. The area looked vast, and many would have thought that even the redevelopment of the former industrial facilities itself would be a “luxurious” island, amidst half-demolished warehouses and workshops. It was just a complex of three building blocks with a total area of 17,841 m². We were not daunted by the difficulty of the undertaking. We designed and completed the Piraeus Port Plaza, a complex bioclimatic project for business, tourism, cultural and commercial use, which already houses executives of major companies and banks. In this new building complex is also the first and only ‘green’ parking area in Greece which was certified with Parksmart by the internationally recognized American organization GBCI (Green Business Certification, Inc).
Redevelopment continued, and the wider area followed – in fact it “bloomed”. New businesses began to spring up and homes were restored. Piraeus Port Plaza provided the impetus to bring the area and its neighborhoods back to life.
In continuation of this ambitious project, we also undertook the reconstruction of the Piraeus Tower in Piraeus, with the aim of bringing a new dynamic to the entire city and becoming a landmark and symbol of its strong maritime tradition. It is the second tallest building in the country which will now feature modern, bioclimatic office and retail spaces. It should be noted that the Piraeus Tower project is going to be the first ‘green’ tall building in Greece, certified at the highest level according to the LEED standard. The project will be delivered for use in 2023.
All these years that we have been active in Piraeus, we have developed an excellent cooperation with the municipal authority, offering the studies for the regeneration of the area, in order to create cycle paths, to replace the shared seats with new ones, to strengthen the greenery, and for the Municipality to move forward, in all those interventions that make our neighborhoods more beautiful. If you walk in Piraeus, you will notice its progress and rebirth: new hangouts around Agios Dionysios, new shops, art galleries, new people moving and working in the area, building their lives there.
We are doing the same in the center of Athens, with the acquisition of the historic former MINION department store in Omonia. MINION, like the Piraeus Tower, is part of our strategy to consistently invest in the reuse of buildings, contributing to the regeneration and reactivation of the local market. Respecting its history, we will create a model bioclimatic building that will meet sustainable environmental goals. Great importance will be attached to maintaining a significant percentage of the existing facility (framework, masonry, etc.), which will allow us to drastically reduce the footprint of the development, while limiting the reckless use of materials.
A few meters further, we inaugurated, at the beginning of the summer, the Moxy Athens City, the first green hotel in Greece certified with LEED Gold. Moxy Athens City, is one of the largest buildings in the center of the city that used to house the Justice of the Peace of Athens and now hosts visitors to the city, reintroducing them to the historic Omonia Square.
This, after all, is our goal: to reintroduce cities to its people, building a new relationship with them.
Olga Itsiou, September 2022