TIF-HELEXPO Fairgrounds are surrounded by two important university campuses (Aristotle University and Macedonia University), the Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Town Hall, the Regional Military Base and shopping districts. TIF – HELEXPO consists a contemporary landmark for the city due to its ideal central location and substantial size. Located at the city center, TIF – HELEXPO is approximately 20 minutes’ drive from “Makedonia” International Airport of Thessaloniki, 10 minutes driving distance from the central Train Station and the city’s ring road and very close to all major attractions and points of interest.
TIF-HELEXPO Exhibition & Congress Center directly affects the function of the urban center of Thessaloniki, as well as the life quality of its residents, due to its location.
The exhibition center is located within an area of approximately 175.000 sqm, consisting of a total built area of 96.000sqm, with Floor Area Ratio 0,58 (excluding the building area of the AAMTH). The existing lot coverage is 42%, while the open space between the facilities covers 50%, and the rest 8% of the Site area is covered by parking lots.
Both overall as well as per building, the existing exhibition halls cannot be considered to exploit the site efficiently, either due to their small size or due to their functional restrictions (pillars, stairways). Based on the experience gained from various exhibition events, it appears that the exploitable space for the exhibitor stands does not exceed 47 – 48% on average.
The OTE Tower and the AAMTH are key iconic landmarks for both the Fairgrounds and the city of Thessaloniki. The oldest exhibition halls, which are concrete buildings dated back in 50s, have some interesting architectural elements which express the architectural trend of that time, especially the modern movement.
The Direct Impact Zone of the Site is situated in the heart of Thessaloniki and is located within the central and the south-eastern part of the city. It extends from the city’s seafront (south) up to a hilltop forest known as ‘Sheikh-Sou’ (north). The land uses and functions in the Direct Impact Zone are mostly of hyperlocal interest, while residential uses are almost absent. They include two University Campuses, two major museums, the 3rd Army Corps Military Camp, the Town Hall, green areas and part of the city's main seafront walk to the southeast and the White Tower.
The Direct Impact Zone is an area with social facilities and public spaces and while it interrupts the continuity of the urban tissue (mainly regarding residential use), it does not constitute an urban gap.
However, the area is excluded from the proposed urban Structure Plan of Thessaloniki and is defined as a “metropolitan functions zone in the central area of the Municipality”.
This zone seems to weaken and break down the cohesion of the city as it sets strong limits among the different areas within it and operates in fragmented way to the connection with the areas around it. Therefore, the unification and dissemination of land uses is strongly recommended in order for the TIF -HELEXPO Fairgrounds area to be incorporated into the rest of the city’s life and facilities.