Deripaska Wins Apraksin Project

VedomostiApraksin Court is to be developed by Glavstroi, which agreed to invest $1.1 billion to renovate and expand the site.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Oleg Deripaska beat fellow billionaire Shalva Chigirinsky in a competition to rebuild an 18th-century market in central St. Petersburg as Moscow developers look for growth in the country's second-largest city.

The city government selected Deripaska's construction unit Glavstroi on Friday over Chigirinsky's Russian Land to develop 14 hectares of land surrounding Apraksin Court, which is three times larger than Moscow's Red Square.

Glavstroi agreed to invest 28 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) to build 347,000 square meters of retail, residential and office space within five years.

"St. Petersburg has to live and develop, harmoniously combining the old and the new," St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, who chaired the jury, said during a ceremony at City Hall.

Glavstroi's proposal, designed by Britain-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects, features a new, glass-covered pedestrian bridge to span the nearby Fontanka Canal. The bridge will serve as a new tourist attraction in the city, said Igor Yevtushevsky, managing director at Glavstroi.

Russian Land recruited British architect Norman Foster and the Arup engineering company to design its project. The company planned to invest over 6 billion rubles more than Glavstroi to cover the costs of building underground tunnels below Apraksin Court.

The jury found Russian Land's plan too threatening to the site, which is a protected historical monument, said Vera Dementyeva, one of nine jury members and head of the city department of planning and preservation.

"Safeguarding the city's architectural heritage was a top priority in our selection," she said after the announcement. St. Petersburg is built on drained swamps, and the ground in many parts of the city is unstable.

Glavstroi will look to expand its operations in St. Petersburg and will bid for more commissions from municipal authorities, Yevtushevsky said.