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Athens seeks to revive iconic Merchants’ Arcade, calls for proposals

“Aiming to revive the once bustling Merchants’ Arcade in central Athens, the city’s mayor Giorgos Kaminis is inviting all interested parties to submit proposals by September 15 for the re-use of 10 closed shops.

The move comes after a similar initiative underway for the re-opening of six shops on central Theatrou Square and is part of a broader city intervention effort to bring life back to inner-city neighborhoods.

The revival of the Merchant’s Arcade (Stoa Emboron) on Voulis St has been included in the municipality’s POLI² pilot project, which subsidizes neighborhood upgrade and renovation projects.

The program aims to support business ventures active in the social and solidarity economy by providing incentives such as subsidies for rent and operational needs for six months, from October 2018 to March 2019. The ultimate goal is to actively encourage and stimulate social entrepreneurship towards the creation of a productive hub within the currently out-of-use arcade.

“We are moving ahead with the implementation of our plan, re-opening 10 closed shops located in the heart of the city’s commercial center, in the Merchants’ Arcade,” said Kaminis.

“We invite anyone living and working in Athens, businessmen, residents, new creators to take this opportunity and take a big step towards bringing back the liveliness and prospect of Athens’ neighborhoods, squares or small commercial corners,” he added.

Interested parties can submit their proposal for the Merchants’ Arcade program through to September 15 on www.polis2.thisisathens.org.

In order to be eligible, applicants must support domestic production and distribute innovative products that promote social and environmental benefits and are available to consumers, businesses, and government agencies.

“The project concerns closed shops located on particular streets or squares in the city center with the aim to facilitate business and creative activities. The objective is to benefit all businesses operating in these areas,” said Alex Gallinos, managing director Athens Development & Destination Management Agency (ADDMA).