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04 August 2023

After many months of careful deliberation, we are pleased and honored to share that we have found a way forward for the three new public hospitals in Thessaloniki, Komotini, and Sparta, as SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos referenced in his opening remarks at the 2023 SNF Nostos Conference, and the construction process for all three hospitals has resumed. The previous tender had been unsuccessful, and we received much higher bids than anticipated—up to two and a half times the expected amount—as we shared in February. Subsequently, we initiated the necessary processes to find a way to make these vital projects feasible, for the benefit of the health sector in Greece and society at large. With the help of Hill International, Renzo Piano and the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Betaplan, and through direct negotiations, the final contractor will be AVAX Group, one of the largest construction groups in Greece and Cyprus. The agreement for the start of construction for the SNF General Hospital of Komotini, the SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki, and the SNF General Hospital of Sparta was signed today, Friday, August 4, 2023. The increase in the budget for these projects brings SNF’s total commitment to the Global Health Initiative (GHI) to more than $1 billion, with the three new hospitals comprising about half of the total budget ($500 million). Upon completion, the hospitals will be delivered to the Greek State fully equipped.

“The end justifies the means and sometimes the means are to justify themselves to fulfill the end. Our commitment to supporting public health, expanding access to its services, enhancing the quality of care for all and empowering frontline healthcare professionals is unwavering, even in today's particularly challenging global conditions,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of SNF. “The new agreement for the construction of the three new hospitals fills us with pride and responsibility, proving that while our resources are not inexhaustible, our strength and dedication to the benefit of society is unlimited.”

“These three hospitals establish the importance of scientific innovation while embracing humanistic values,” said Renzo Piano, the projects’ distinguished architect. “Visual and physical contact with nature, natural light, and beauty, primary beauty, are the essential building elements of this project. This initiative aims to establish a new benchmark for healthcare architecture that acknowledges and addresses the environmental fragility of our planet.”

“We are excited to see this visionary project proceed into the implementation stage with great delivery partners,” said Raouf S. Ghali, CEO at Hill International, the partner leading project management. “Together with the team we will create spaces of healing and hope, making a lasting impact on countless lives. Our commitment to excellence will undoubtedly bring these iconic projects to life, shaping a brighter and healthier future for the surrounding communities. Hill International is proud to be part of this world class team.”

Christos Ioannou, Executive Chairman of the AVAX Group, stated, “Every construction company builds its identity through the projects it delivers. Today marks a milestone for AVAX, as the construction of the three hospitals in Thessaloniki, Sparta, and Komotini, designed by Renzo Piano, will now constitute an integral part of its history. We are committed to proving ourselves worthy of the trust the Stavros Niarchos Foundation—and Andreas Dracopoulos personally—has placed in us to contribute to the realization of the Foundation’s vision for three new state-of-the-art hospitals.”

Antonis Mitzalis, Executive Director of the AVAX Group added, “We have made our resources available to support the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s efforts to advance its Global Health Initiative into the implementation stage. Our collaboration with the people of SNF, Hill International, and the project designers, is groundbreaking for Greek—but also for international—standards. We are now part of the solution. We move forward, knowing that the hospitals in Thessaloniki, Komotini, and Sparta, though they will be completed a few years from today, will rank at the very top of our Group’s achievements.”

Since 2017, when SNF announced its intention to fully support a number of pivotal projects to strengthen the public health sector in Greece, and since 2018, when signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Hellenic Republic and SNF to officially launch the Global Health Initiative (GHI), the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to do its utmost to ensure that each of the diverse and ever-growing grants come to fruition. The Global Health Initiative (GHI) comprises more than 30 individual projects, including the procurement of specialized medical equipment, new aircraft for the air ambulance services of the National Center for Emergency Care (EKAV), training programs for healthcare professionals, and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiative in Greece. Furthermore, collaborations with leading international organizations aim to strengthen public health around the world, such as Rockefeller University, Columbia University, and the Child Mind Institute in New York, the National Children’s Alliance across the U.S., Sant Joan de Déu Children’s Hospital in Barcelona, the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center in Jordan, and Yorkshire Cancer Research in the U.K.

Given the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s (SNF) focus on the implementation of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) in its entirety, SNF will continue to assess applications for support, but will do so in a much more selective way, as we have already shared in previous announcements and on our website.

We will soon announce the SNF team’s schedule of visits to Komotini, Thessaloniki, and Sparta to provide the local communities with in-depth information on the new agreement for the three new public hospitals, in collaboration, of course, with the Ministry of Health, the relevant municipalities, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and local authorities.