The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Antonis Samaras, visits the construction site of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
26 July 2013

The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Antonis Samaras, together with the Minister for Development, Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis, the Minister for Education, Mr. Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos, the Minister for Culture, Mr. Panos Panagiotopoulos, the Minister for Tourism, Ms. Olga Kefalogianni, and the Deputy Minister for Development, Mr. Notis Mitarakis, visited this morning the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) construction site.

During a tour of the site, representatives of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation updated the Prime Minister and the cabinet members on the construction progress of the SNFCC, which has been underway since the autumn of 2012.  
The Prime Minister, as part of his visit, was informed about the project’s innovative architectural, construction and operational features, as well as about SNFCC’s important short- mid- and long-term benefits for Greek society and the national economy, especially under the current adverse socioeconomic conditions. 
Currently, the SNFCC construction site is the most complex and demanding in the country. It employs 700 people, a number which is expected to reach 1,500 soon. At the same time, the project provides support to the struggling industry and construction sectors, which stand to benefit from approximately 80% of the overall economic stimulus as a direct result of SNFCC’s development. 

The Prime Minister, Mr. Antonis Samaras, stated: What we saw today was a dream, a vision unfolding around us, and becoming reality. This grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is of great importance to Greece. I was fortunate enough to endorse it when I was starting out as Minister of Culture. Now I had the great pleasure of seeing the project progressing. In these hard times we’re going through, we need such messages. That’s why we’re all here today; we watched this hugely important project unfold, completely satisfied and very emotional, because we see before us an enormous dream, which, with your Foundation’s help, we’re turning into reality. I want to congratulate and to thank you, on behalf of all Greeks, for this huge gift. (full version of the Prime Minister’s speech)

Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, President of the Board of Directors of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, said: “To my mind, the SNFCC is a sizeable building block in the effort made by all Greeks, without exception, to build on sound foundations a new Greece, which will be in a position to take advantage of its varied and enormous resources. The SNFCC can and must be a part of this new Greece, not the Greece of misery and incompetence, but a Greece that will give us, once again, the opportunity to hope for a better tomorrow. And in order to achieve that better future for all of us, we must all give our best and work together, creatively and effectively”.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has undertaken the full cost of designing, constructing and equipping the SNFCC. The project’s budget of €566 million makes the SNFCC the Foundation’s largest single gift. After the project’s completion, the SNFCC will be handed over to the Greek State, which will take full responsibility for its management and operation for the benefit of all citizens. 
The SNFCC, which will host the new facilities of the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece, as well as the 170,000 m2 Stavros Niarchos Park, is the first private-public partnership of this magnitude in Greece. 
The project’s construction by the Impregilo-TERNA joint venture is progressing in line with the original schedule. The SNFCC will be completed and delivered by the end of 2015 to the Greek State, which will begin its operation in 2016. 
In addition, the SNFCC’s Visitors Center will open to the public in September 2013. The Visitors Center is a temporary light structure with multiple functions, which will remain in operation until the completion of the SNFCC. It will offer visitors the opportunity to see the construction site and learn more about the SNFCC, its history, its role, its structure, its purpose, its mission and its future. It will also serve as a venue for SNFCC-related exhibitions and other public events. It is worth noting that the Visitors Center was designed by students Spyros Giotakis and Agis Mourelatos, the winners of a national architectural student competition to design the structure. 
Alongside its grant for the development of the SNFCC, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation continues its philanthropic work, carrying out hundreds of grants all over the world. At the same time and in response to the ongoing socioeconomic crisis in Greece, the Foundation announced, in January 2012, an additional grant initiative of €100 million ($130 million), in order to help ease the adverse effects of the deepening crisis. Since then, and as part of the initiative, the SNF has committed grants totaling €72 million ($93 million) in support of numerous not-for-profit organizations around the country, and is in the process of assessing additional grants.