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Greece’s woes bring cut-rate rents

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Nike, named for the Greek victory goddess, pays 43 percent less for store space in Athens than the previous tenant paid.

ATHENS - Nike Inc., the world’s largest sporting-goods company, will rent prime retail space in the center of Athens for at least 43 percent less than the previous tenant, an adviser on the transaction said.

Nike agreed to lease 8,300 square feet from the state-controlled Greek civil servants pension fund, according to CBRE Atria, the CB Richard Ellis Group Greek unit that represented Nike.

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Greece’s economic crisis is prompting owners of commercial real estate to close branches and stores, offering opportunities to foreign companies with cash to spend.

“International retailers are taking advantage of lower rents and higher vacancy rates in Greece to establish networks that they couldn’t have created previously,’’ said Yannis Perrotis, managing director of CBRE Atria in Athens.

Nike is paying $73,000 a month for the first year to lease a ground floor, mezzanine, and two basements.

The premises had lain empty for almost two years.

Commercial property vacancies in the center of Athens rose to 24.4 percent in August.

Higher vacancies in prime areas have contributed to a 15 percent drop in rents from a year earlier, Savills PLC said in a November note.

Greek gross domestic product may show anemic growth starting in 2013 after a 7.4 percent contraction in 2011 and a likely drop of about 2 percent this year, Savills said.

Perrotis expects more international retailers to open in Europe’s most indebted country even as the government awaits a final outline of a crisis plan.

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