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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hotel Group Unveils St. Pete's Plaza Hotel

ST. PETERSBURG -- The InterContinental Hotels Group has announced plans to develop a new hotel in a historic building in the center of St. Petersburg.

Last year, the British leisure group inaugurated a Crowne Plaza hotel in Moscow. Under the terms of the agreement signed between IHG and Rastor Investments, the new Crowne Plaza St. Petersburg should open in early 2009, IHG said in a statement recently.

"This project represents a unique opportunity to establish the Crowne Plaza brand in St. Petersburg," said Robin Wicks, CEO of IHG's European division.

"Russia is a strategic market for IHG. The strength of the Russian economy and increasing opportunities in this region have attracted hotel investors and operators, and raised the demand for international hotel brands."

The hotel will have 339 rooms, two bars, two restaurants, a swimming pool, a gym and a 750-square-meter conference hall. It will be situated in a historic low-rise building in the central Admiralteisky district.

"This new Crowne Plaza is not only contributing to a high standard of accommodation in St. Petersburg, but it also means an architectural monument built in 1789 is being resurrected," said Andrei Yakunin, partner and chief financial officer of Rastor Management.

Like its Moscow counterpart, the Crowne Plaza St. Petersburg will be aiming for the more affluent end of the leisure market.

"Crowne Plaza's main competitors will be the 4- and 5-star hotels located along Nevsky Prospekt, like Nevsky Palace, Radisson SAS and Novotel," said Oleg Gromkov, a consultant at the Knight Frank real estate agency's St. Petersburg office.

He estimated that investment would exceed $75 million with a payback period of seven to eight years. Depending on the costs of redevelopment, the total investment could be higher, Gromkov said.

In addition to being located near extensive shopping areas, the hotel will have a covered atrium with retail outlets, bars and restaurants.

The hotel will be close to a number of historical and cultural attractions, such as the Nikolsky Cathedral and Yusupov Palace, as well as two metro stations and two overland railway stations.

IHG operates four Holiday Inn hotels in Moscow, which collectively provide 1,290 rooms. Along with the new Crowne Plaza, the company's plans for St. Petersburg include the opening in 2008 of Holiday Inns on Ligovsky Prospekt and Moskovsky Prospekt. Altogether, the three hotels will increase the city's reserve of hotel rooms by 968 rooms, which should relieve the city's deficit of short-term accommodation.

"St. Petersburg is currently lacking in quality business and travel accommodation," Yakunin said. "But an increasing number of international hotel chains are starting to come to Russia's cultural capital."