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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hotel Minsk Slated to Reopen in 2009

For MTThe site of the Hotel Minsk — demolished last year and pictured here in July 2002 — is situated on Tverskaya Ulitsa.
The long-delayed hotel complex on the former site of the Hotel Minsk will reopen at the start of 2009, a spokesman for the city administration's construction department said Friday.

The proposed 65,000-square-meter, prime-location complex located at 22 Tverskaya Ulitsa, will include a 205-room hotel, an underground parking lot for 400 cars, 16,000 square meters of office space and a 10,500-square-meter shopping center, according to the plans drawn up by state architectural firm Mosproyekt-2. The hotel is expected to retain the Hotel Minsk name.

Mosproyekt-2 was brought on board at the behest of Mayor Yury Luzhkov, as any prospective development will be expected to fit in with surrounding Stalin-era architecture.

No one at Mosproyekt-2 could provide any further details on the project last week, but the final hotel is expected to be a four-star facility.

Despite optimistic predictions from city officials, however, the troubled project, which has seen a procession of investors delaying any real progress, is still viewed with skepticism.

Stephane Meyrat, a hotels expert at Colliers, cast doubt on the likelihood of a swift resolution, citing a series of management and policy changes on behalf of investors involved.

"The Minsk project investors have exhibited a vague understanding of hotel assets and viewed them more as objects of prestige than income-generating projects," Meyrat said.

The project is currently being run by a Metalloinvest holding company affiliate, Rossiisky Kredit Bank, the lender's web site said. Also, the total investments on the Minsk Hotel complex will amount to $150 million, the web site said.

A Metalloinvest spokeswoman, however, denied that the company was involved in the project.

While the Minsk is expected to be developed as a four-star hotel, the smaller Tsentralnaya Hotel, the development rights for which also reportedly belong to Metalloinvest, will be converted into a luxury boutique hotel, Colliers' Meyrat said.

The original three-star Hotel Minsk, built in 1967, was a notorious example of drab Soviet architecture, and the site has long been earmarked for redevelopment. The demolition of the Minsk, begun in September 2005, was completed last year. So far, no building work has begun on the site.

No company has yet been chosen to operate the redeveloped Minsk Hotel but the Starwood hotel chain has "long had its eyes on it," Meyrat said.

Elsewhere, experts quoted by the Guide to Property web site suggested that the Intercontinental Hotel Group or Accor were also in the running.

A Moscow representative for Intercontinental Hotels Group could not be reached Friday and a spokesperson at Accor's Paris headquarters was unable to comment on the reports.

The Minsk is among a number of high-profile central Moscow sites that have been torn down to be converted into luxury hotels, and the redevelopment comes as part of a concerted attempt to modernize hotels across the capital.

The demolition of many of the major central Moscow hotels, however, including the Rossiya and Intourist, for redevelopment has led to a severe reduction in the number of beds available in the city.