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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zones Plan May Aid Historical Center

Moscow city officials are looking to divide the city center into separate business and historical districts in an attempt to stimulate further development and attract more tourists, a spokesman for the city administration said Wednesday.

The Federation Tower in Moskva-City. In the proposed system, office buildings would be confined to business districts.

Under proposals outlined by Deputy Mayor Iosif Ordzhonikidze on Wednesday, business developments would in the future be excluded from the city's historical center and focused on the area surrounding the Moskva-City development.

"We will leave the historical center for the tourists and the business area will be concentrated on the area known as Moskva-City," said Alexander Konygin, a spokesman for Ordzhonikidze on Friday. "By the historical center we mean the area inside the Garden Ring."

The plan would be modeled on other European capitals, like London and Paris, where recent developments such as Canary Wharf and La Defence have tended to concentrate business construction away from areas of historical interest, Konygin said.

Andrei Postnikov, head of tenant representation at Jones Lang LaSalle, welcomed the proposals as a smart way to develop key sites outside the center and take some strain off Moscow's overburdened transport infrastructure.

The measures would divert traffic away from the city center and alleviate Moscow's serious congestion problems, Postnikov said.

"The road system doesn't work properly anyway, so if you don't have more and more people traveling into the center, then that is positive," he said.

Another reason justifying the creation of the business center was that many areas outside the center are ripe for development, Postnikov said.

"There is considerable room for expansion, especially beyond the Third Ring Road, so it could be a huge business district," he said.

"There are huge areas around the city currently occupied by industrial zones that could be very good for real estate development," he said.

Construction of a development similar to Moskva-City will begin on the location previously intended as the venue for the Olympic Village planned during the ill-fated bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, Konygin said.

"When Moskva-City is completed in 2009, construction will have begun at the other site beyond the Third Ring Road," Konygin said.

"There will be a business area there that will be even bigger than Moskva-City, and these two areas will become Moscow's primary business areas," he said, adding that the site could be named White City.

Another consequence of restrictions on business developments in the city center will be the inflation of prices of existing office buildings in the city's historical center, Postnikov said.

"There will always be businesses that feel it is important to be in the center, close to the Kremlin, and those businesses will be willing to pay a premium to be there," he said.

As well as stimulating business developments in Moscow, the proposals would also help safeguard many historical landmarks and buildings in the city center from further development, Konygin said.

A development blitz to modernize Moscow over the past decade has led to the destruction of swathes of historical buildings around the city center and caused outrage among many local inhabitants. The plans would include provisions to clean up the historical center and city's landmarks for tourists and would encourage the construction of much-needed hotels in the historical center, Konygin said.

But the new districts will not be rigidly enforced and no new legislation will be introduced to back up the proposals, Konygin said.

"It won't be a real territorial division. There won't be any checkpoints or visas or barbed wire," he joked.