Developer to Invest Billions in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG -- Hungarian property developer TriGranit Development has announced that it will invest $2 billion to $3 billion into new premises in St. Petersburg, including the construction of a shopping and exhibition complex.

The development will be built on the site of the former Badayevskiye warehouses -- wooden buildings dating to the beginning of the 20th century located on Kievskaya Ulitsa, said Sandor Demjan, chairman of the company's board of directors, Interfax reported. The warehouses have caught fire several times in recent years and have been largely destroyed.

TriGranit Development plans to complete construction within four years of obtaining the required permits from city authorities, Demjan told the news agency.

The Badayevskiye warehouses occupy 28 hectares of land in an industrial area. TriGranit plans to construct 900,000 square meters of new developments, including a 1,500-room hotel that will be 140 meters tall, Demjan said, as well as a congress and exhibition complex with a capacity of 60,000 people.

One local real estate expert was positive about this project.

"The location is very advantageous. The complex will be located near Moskovsky Prospekt, which is close to the airport and the center of the city. As for traffic jams and parking spaces, this problem is universal for St. Petersburg. The Moskovsky district is in a better position compared with the city center," said Igor Luchkov, director of the assessment and analysis department at Becar Commercial Property.

"In terms of available conference and exhibition space, St. Petersburg is inferior to Moscow. At the moment the city does not have a modern complex for hosting large-scale conferences and forums," Luchkov said.

He said the planned complex would benefit from its proximity to main transport hubs, the airport and the city center.

"It will be possible to offer sightseeing tours to business people. In addition to the exhibition complex, the project will include office areas, a hotel and shops, which should make it more attractive," Luchkov said.

He said St. Petersburg town-planning requirements did not permit the construction of buildings as tall as the planned hotel. But there are exceptions, namely the Okhta Center, which will be 300 meters tall, despite its location across from the landmark Smolny Cathedral, he added.

"Some disputes could arise over this building. But the Moskovsky district, which has a lot of vacant space, is more promising in this regard. With some assistance from the authorities, this problem could be solved," Luchkov said.

TriGranit Development's second project planned for St. Petersburg is the construction of a media production complex titled Telefabrika on Vasiliyevsky Island. Construction should be completed within 2 1/2 years. TriGranit will invest $600 million to $700 million into Telefabrika, which will provide film production facilities.

TriGranit is also negotiating with Russian Railways over the construction of a new shopping and entertainment center close to Vitebsky Station.