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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Building May Be Sold to Investors

The buildings housing the State Duma and Federation Council could be sold off to private investors once both chambers have been moved to a future purpose-built parliament complex, presidential property manager Vladimir Kozhin said in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets on Wednesday.

"According to the current plan, which I think will be the final one and won't be revised, the buildings now occupied by the State Duma and Federation Council will be put up for auction," Kozhin told the newspaper. "Put more simply, they will be sold."

In a further development, Kozhin said in the interview that the bidding for the prime-location buildings would be open to private investors.

"[Bidding will be possible] on the real estate market. The funds raised will be used to fund expenditure on the construction of the new parliament complex," Kozhin said.

In February, the Presidential Property Department, headed by Kozhin, announced plans to relocate the Duma and council in a 200,000-square-meter parliament complex on the site of the Krasnaya Presnya stadium, behind the White House and neighboring the U.S. Embassy.

Initial estimates for the cost of the new parliament complex have been put at $300 million to $400 million. No architect has yet been chosen to design the complex, Kozhin said. He denied, however, media reports that the new premises would include a spa, swimming pools, bowling alleys and even a zoo.

"Duma deputies will not be entertained by bears and monkeys," he said.

Although there are no other sites under consideration, with the project still at an embryonic stage, the exact location for the complex remains to be confirmed and as yet no definite start date has been established.

"No final decision has been made. Not about whether we'll build it on that site or about the start date for construction," Kozhin said.

He added that this year's Duma elections could see the plans being put off further still.

The proposal to build on the Krasnaya Presnya stadium site has proved controversial, with local residents forming a protest group to fight the project. The area consists principally of a football pitch that was once home to a forerunner of Spartak Moscow.

Asked about the proposed sale of the Duma and the future use of such an iconic building, a spokesperson for the city's cultural heritage committee was unable to provide any comment, suggesting it was all too far in the future.