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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City to Ease Hotel Crisis With Pre-Fab Housing

Moscow City Hall has come up with a way to solve the hospitality crisis brought about by the lack of affordable hotel rooms: It will mass-produce new hotels.

"We have made a decision to build hotels in bulk," Deputy Mayor Vladimir Resin, who is responsible for construction, said last week. "For this purpose, one of the types of apartment blocks that are built by the city has been redesigned to be a two- or three-star hotel."

In the last two years, various City Hall officials have stated the necessity of doubling the number of hotel rooms in Moscow in order to meet the growing demand from tourists and business visitors, and to realize the city's bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012.

"The idea itself is not new," said Marina Usenko, vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. "Similar hotels were built in anticipation of the 1980 Moscow Olympics -- like the Baikal Hotel, which looks like a typical nine-story-high block."

Usenko said that she liked the idea, adding that pre-fabricated hotels are quite common in the world, as they allow a project's backers to save on time and resources when developing no-frills, two-star-type hotels.

"The big question is who is going to operate them. There is no company in Moscow capable of taking on the task of running so many hotels professionally, but if they are not going to be up to standard, they may not be worth the effort," Usenko added.

It will take between six and eight months to build an apartment block-type hotel. The City's construction unit No. 1, or DSK-1, is capable of building 250,000 square meters of such housing, or 25 hotels, annually, Resin said.

He would not elaborate on the locations of future hotels or on who is going to operate them.