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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hotel Built for '80 Olympics Has an Explosive Checkout

Another Soviet-era hotel ended its days as a pile of rubble Saturday, when the 23-story Sport Hotel was blown up to make way for a new development.

A 195,000-square-meter multifunctional complex, featuring office, retail and entertainment spaces and hotel rooms, is planned for completion on the site by late 2006.

Opened on Leninsky Prospekt in 1979 in preparation for the following year's Moscow Olympic Games, the 401-room, 40,000-square-meter Sport Hotel was shut down last year.

"When it was finished, it was one of the most prestigious hotels," said Marina Ivanova, deputy general director at the Hotel Consulting and Development Group, adding that Sport was then classified "high grade A," the rough Soviet equivalent of a four-star hotel.

However, it had not been seriously renovated and had fallen into disrepair, she added.

In May of this year, City Hall approved the building's demolition, citing its "state of emergency" and irreparability for future usage as the reasons for the decision.

Unlike two other landmark Soviet hotels, the Intourist and the Moskva, which were both recently taken apart piece by piece, Sport's location outside the city center with no other buildings in close proximity allowed for it to be demolished by a controlled explosion.

However, though traffic on Leninsky Prospekt was temporarily suspended and the area adjacent to the hotel blocked off, some local residents left their houses, fearing that the explosion was a terrorist attack, Interfax reported.

In the next few years, City Hall plans to demolish or renovate a number of Soviet-era hotels, including the Rossiya, Minsk, Mir, Tsentralnaya and Kievskaya.