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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Building Where Others Fear to Tread

Renovation began recently on a 1, 700-square-meter office building on Petrovsky Bulvar, the work of an Italian and Russian joint venture. The new Western-style offices, which will be leased to foreign firms, are scheduled to be completed in December.

It is estimated that restoring the 90-year-old, five-story structure will cost about $1 million, according to representatives of the Finnish-American company, Moscow Real Estate Partners, who will act as the building's brokers.

Moscow Real Estate Partners is headed by Esa Seppanen, president of a Finnish real estate consulting firm, and Samuel Spiro, president of a Chicago-based consulting firm.

They described Moscow's budding

real estate market as one that only the daring should venture into.

Spiro said that Moscow Real Estate Partners would primarily represent foreign corporations looking for office space in Moscow. He called the new building ideal for European, American and Japanese companies looking to establish themselves in Moscow.

"As Moscow continues to grow as an international business center, corporations will need expertise in looking at all office space options", he said.

Spiro said that the Russian real estate market held out the possibility of great reward to those who were willing to brave the difficulties of doing business in an uncertain business climate.

"Look, this is my own money I'm investing here. I've been in Moscow 25 times already, so you bet I'm committed", he said. Seppanen, who formerly represented the construction company, Finn-Stroi, in Moscow, said that the new company would be especially helpful to Russian property owners wishing to enter into leasing arrangements with foreign corporations.

"We can consult them on Western-style financing, development, management and leasing", he said. Both said they recognized the difficulties of doing business in Russia, but insisted that once legal and financial obstacles to foreign firms have been overcome, the Moscow real estate market would experience an exponential growth.

"Both of us have spent many months learning about the Moscow city planning and approval procedures, and have learned how to comply with the requirements of the city's various governing bodies", Spiro said.