Pallas Athena Building
"Pallas Athena" Building, that among others, it houses the Foundation's Athens office, is a landmark for the area of Kifissia.
Read here a brief history of the building:
In 1886, Stamatis Apergis, a carpenter from Tinos, married Asimina Nikolaou from Kifissia. The early years of their marriage were difficult. Stamatis worked for the municipality as a lamplighter for the streetlights in Kifissia Square. The couple moved to a small house in Kefalari, near the church of Sotiras. An awning in front of the house created a small café for the Athenians who came to enjoy the fresh air and verdant landscapes. The café turned into a restaurant, and as the family grew, the Apergises bought the plot of land across the street. A large living room, kitchen and the first guest rooms allowed the business to grow.
In 1921, the hotel acquired a capacity of 160 beds in response to Kifissia’s growing popularity. Yannis Nydraios, a civil engineer, designed the hotel’s characteristic domes, copying those of the Hotel Negresco in Nice. The hotel was manned with experienced staff, and all the family’s children worked in the business. Professional chefs were hired, as was the well-known confectioner from Constantinople, Anastasios Theodorides. In the meantime, the new reservoir in Kefalari was officially opened helping to irrigate the region, and the local hoteliers provided the funds to establish regular transport between the train station and Kefalari.
The 1930s were the Apergis Hotel’s golden age, as Kifissia became the most popular suburb. In 1931 the business became a public limited company under the name “S. Apergis Anonymous Hotel Enterprise”. Stamatis and Asimina Apergis bought land from the Petraki Monastery in 1933, taking over the entire block and allowing them to expand the business. The fountain that adorns the entrance came from Germany in 1936. The hotel took part in the social life of Kifissia, providing accommodation for many important international figures, and hosting events for the Athenian society. The decade came to an end with the death of Stamatis Apergis on 29 April 1940.
During the Greco-Italian War, the hotel was requisitioned by the government and turned into a hospital for wounded British soldiers. The Germans came in 1942, and they also used it as a hospital until 1944, when the British returned. During the December Incidents ELAS fighters blew up the left wing in an attempt to seize the hotel. In 1948, Stamatis Apergis’ children received a loan from Egyptian financiers to restore the severe damage the hotel had suffered, and they added six luxurious suites, thus completing the building and giving the hotel its final shape.
Throughout the '50s, the hotel continued to be popular among Athenians who thronged to the restaurant for lunch on Sundays, and it continued to be used for social events. A changing taste for the seaside and the southern suburbs meant that the number of visitors to Kifissia declined. John S. Latsis bought the hotel in 1984.
After significant changes to the interior, and additions carried out with respect to the building’s style and the region, the hotel, which had by this time been designated a landmark building, became the headquarters of most of the Latsis Group companies in Greece for many years. In 2006, the building became property of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, and is now the Foundation’s headquarters in Greece, thus opening up a new page in its history.