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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Developing Moscow's Skyline

NAME; Alexander Hazhakyan

TITLE: President, City, a company with about 50 employees, involved in development and trading.

AGE: 45

PREVIOUS JOB: Manager of the Russian Commodities-and Materials Exchange.

QUOTE; "The Americans pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and began to work. We have to do the same".

Alexander Hazhakyan was not fooling around when he named his company City.

That is just what he's planning along a 110-hectare stretch of land on the Moscow River in the city's center.

Over the next 10 years, Hazhakyan is planning an $8-9 billion development that would give Moscow a modern skyline.

The former manager of the Russian Commodities and Materials Exchange, Hazhakyan says that he has firm commitments from several countries for parts of the financing and that he has big-name foreign oil companies and banks lined up as tenants.

"We see this project more widely than just as an international business center", said Hazhakyan, a native Muscovite. "The main idea for today is stability and this will help bring that here".

Hazhakyan expects to sign the ground lease for the project with the Moscow city government this week.

If signed, City will be the general manager of the entire development and will itself develop 14 of the hectares.

By the end of the year, City plans a unique share offering of 1. 5 billion rubles ($4. 45 million at the current exchange rate) to the Russian public to pay for the development's infrastructure, including utilities and communications systems.

It will be one of the first public offerings in post-Soviet Russia, but Hazhakyan said the idea has been done here before. GUM, the department store, was built with such financing about 100 years ago.

"We have this experience in our history", Hazhakyan said.

The next step will be to issue options to international companies to buy certain tracts of land. Foreign governments have already agreed to guarantee some of these

options, Hazhakyan said.

The grandiose plan took root when Hazhakyan was seeking a home for his commodity exchange. He met Iosif Ordzhonikidze, the city official responsible for economic relations, who was also in charge of the development of the Moscow Expocentre's second phase.

Moscow had run out of money for the project and was looking for somebody to take it private.

Hazhakyan was in the right place at the right time with the right vision.

But the plan ran into the ongoing rift between Konstantin Borovoi, the founder of the commodity exchange, and Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

Hazhakyan said that Borovoi, as part of his general opposition to Luzhkov, was against the project.

Hazhakyan brings more than just an amiable yet forceful personality to the negotiating table.

Unlike those who are overwhelmed by the current problems, Hazhakyan is a proud man who believes in Russia's possibilities.

During the August 1991 coup, Hazhakyan recalled, the members of the exchange gathered to discuss their response.

"We decided not to go home like we would have in past days", he said. Instead, they took a Russian flag into the streets.

In spite of the obvious public relations advantage, Hazhakyan declines to issue company press releases in English, insisting that "We are a Russian company".

"The Americans pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and began to work", he said.

"We have to do the same".