Real Estate in Brief

Moscow Most Attractive

Moscow placed first among European cities in a list of the most attractive places for real estate investment prepared by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Interfax reported Friday.

The list, which takes into account the perspectives for development and the level of risks in the cities studied, had Russia moving up from 18th place overall last year, the news agency said.

Istanbul came in second, followed by Hamburg, Munich, and Paris. (MT)

New LSR Cement Plant

ST. PETERSBURG -- LSR Group, a property developer and maker of building materials, said Thursday that it would pay China's Hefei Cement Research and Design Institute 163 million euros ($255 million) to build a cement plant near St. Petersburg.

The factory will make 1.85 million tons of cement per year when production starts in 2010, St. Petersburg-based LSR said Thursday. (Bloomberg)

RZD Plans for 640 Hectares

ST. PETERSBURG -- Russian Railways, or RZD, plans to develop 640 hectares of the land it owns across Russia and build at least 7 million square meters of residential and commercial space, Vedomosti reported Monday.

RZD's unit Zheldoripoteka will act as the investor and developer on the projects, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Sibirsky Cement in Turkey

Ciments Francais, the international unit of Italy's Italcementi, agreed Wednesday to sell its Turkish assets to Sibirsky Cement for 600 million euros ($933 million) in cash and stock.

Ciments Francais will receive 400 million euros in cash and a 5.4 percent stake of Sibirsky, the country's second-largest producer of the building material, valued at 200 million euros, the Paris-based company said. (Bloomberg)

BasEl to Split Hotel Business

Basic Element, billionaire Oleg Deripaska's holding company, will split its hotel business, managing director Yevgeny Borkin said, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Russian Hotels will continue its work on chains and multifunction complexes with hotel space, while Guest Hotel Management will focus on the development of boutique hotels, Borkin said, the newspaper reported.

Guest Hotel Management will run all of its own properties, including the hotel Rodina, in Sochi, beginning May 1. It is also planning to open a boutique hotel on Pushkin Square, the newspaper reported. (MT)

Gazprom Offices in Berlin

BERLIN -- Gazprom wants to rent the Berlin tower that currently houses the German national railway's headquarters, Die Welt reported last week, citing industry sources.

Gazprom has contacted Morgan Stanley, which owns the tower, about leasing the building for its European offices when Deutsche Bahn's contract expires next year, the German newspaper reported on its web site. (Bloomberg)

Kazakh Building Bailout

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The Kazakh government is spending 242.5 billion tenge ($2 billion) to prop up the construction industry, which is suffering from a shortage of financing amid the global credit crunch, the economy minister said Monday.

The credit situation in the two biggest cities, Almaty and Astana, is the "most complicated," Economy Minister Bakhyt Sultanov said. (Bloomberg)

BasEl to Convert Factory

ST. PETERSBURG -- Billionaire Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element will spend $83 million to turn its Pikalevsky alumina plant into a cement factory, Pikalevsky chief Dmitry Savenkov said, Kommersant reported Friday.

BaselCement, a unit of BasEl, is buying the facility from United Company RusAl, the aluminum producer controlled by Deripaska, the newspaper said. (Bloomberg)

Akfen, Accor Plan 10 Hotels

ISTANBUL -- Akfen Holding, one of the main shareholders of Turkish airport operator TAV Havalimanlari Holding, is planning to build 10 hotels in Russia with its French partner Accor, Dunya reported Monday.

Akfen and Accor are about to start construction of four hotels in regions including Samara and Tyumen, Akfen chairman Hamdi Akin said, Dunya reported. The companies are planning to build six more hotels in the country, Dunya said. (Bloomberg)

For the Record

LSR Group said Monday that it began construction of a $12 million crushed granite plant near St. Petersburg to take advantage of "growing demand" for the material. (Bloomberg)

Ukraine's two-tiered approval structure could pose problems for the country's booming construction sector, Vladimir Monastyrskyy, a partner at Salans in Kiev, said Monday. (MT)