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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shuvalovsky Palace Goes to Vekselberg

MTVekselberg's foundation has secured a 49-year lease on Shuvalovsky Palace, home to the House of Friendship.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The St. Petersburg government has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Link of Time foundation, granting the organization a lease on the 19th-century Shuvalovsky Palace on the Fontanka embankment.

The Palace is currently home to the Center for International Cooperation, also known as the House of Friendship.

As part of the deal, the foundation, which plans to open a new museum of private collections at the palace, has undertaken to invest $10 million in a comprehensive renovation of the building.

The foundation is also to provide a further $1.5 million for repairs to the new headquarters of the House of Friendship, said Natalya Gordeyeva, deputy head of City Hall's Property Committee.

The deal provides Link of Time with a 49-year lease on the palace, the longest term allowed by the government for buildings of historical significance.

The House of Friendship will not be leaving immediately. According to the the agreement, the organization is to move by Oct. 1 of this year, while renovations to the Shuvalovsky Palace are due to be completed in January 2009.

"The main reason why we were given the right to rent the Shuvalovsky Palace is the building's depressing, crumbling condition," said Andrei Shtorkh, a spokesman for Link of Time. "The funds allocated by both local and federal government were not enough to cover all its needs."

Shtorkh said the foundation was planning to create another museum of private collections in Moscow, but had not yet found a suitable location.

In 2005, oil and metals tycoon Vekselberg acquired the largest existing collection of Faberge eggs, comprising more than 200 items and worth more than $100 million.