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Saturday, January 5, 2013

OPPONENTS FEAR BILLION-ROUBLE SCHEME TO “PRESERVE AND REDEVELOP” CENTRAL ST. PETER



Opponents fear billion-rouble scheme to “preserve and redevelop” central St Petersburg
Conservationists and planning experts say $2.8bn pilot projects are a threat to historical character of the heart of the city

By Sophia Kishkovsky. Web only
Published online: 26 December 2012

Conservationists who fought attempts by Gazprom, the State-controlled gas giant, to build a skyscraper opposite the Smolny Convent complex in the centre of St Petersburg are now facing another threat to the city’s architectural heritage—government plans to redevelop two historic districts in the city centre.

A resolution passed by the city legislature, signed by the St Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko in November, singles out the neighbourhoods of Konyushennaya and North Kolomna-New Holland for “preservation and development” as part of a “special purpose programme” that is due to start this year and be completed by 2018. The city says that the cost of the redevelopment will be $2.8bn, with $2.2bn coming from the municipal budget and $579m from private investors. Poltavchenko said last summer that overhauling the entire city centre would cost an estimated $129.5bn.

The project is meant to serve as a pilot for the rest of the historical centre of St Petersburg. Konyushennaya lies between the Hermitage and the State Russian Museum. New Holland is a former naval yard near the Mariinsky Theater, which is being turned into a contemporary arts centre by the billionaire Roman Abramovich and his art collector partner Dasha Zhukova. 

City officials say the redevelopment will preserve historic buildings (if necessary by rebuilding them). They also want to rehouse people living in communal apartments, which are a throwback to the Soviet era, and create new pedestrian zones. 


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