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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Set to Get a Spinning Skyscraper

It may seem like something out of Hanna and Barbera sci-fi cartoon "The Jetsons," but Moscow looks set to become only the second city in the world after Dubai to boast a fully revolving skyscraper after leading developer Mirax bought construction rights to the project.

Each of the proposed building's approximately 60 floors will revolve independently around a central core. The spectacular project will cost over $400 million, Mirax said in a statement last week.

Work on the building is expected to get under way in 2008 and be completed by 2011, the statement said. Building costs for the project will reach $4,000 per square meter.

Mirax signed a contract July 12 with Florence-based firm Dynamic Architecture for exclusive construction rights in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The company made its first payment at the start of August.

Mirax refused to disclose the total value of the deal, but Darrell Stanaford, managing director at CB Richard Ellis Noble Gibbons, estimated that the cost for the patented technologies could stretch into the millions of dollars.

Several potential sites in Moscow are currently being studied for the 110,000-square-meter project, Mirax said.

"We are currently conducting discussions on several plots within the bounds of the third transport ring," Mirax co-owner Sergei Polonsky said in a statement.

The construction process for the project will be as idiosyncratic as the finished product, the statement said.

The central core will be installed in one piece while the individual floors will be produced in a factory and then attached to the central core, possibly even already fully furnished.

"According to forecasts, this method will allow us to cut down construction time by a minimum of 30 percent and, beyond that, will reduce pollution on the building site," Mirax's project manager Vladimir Antimonov said.

The unusual quality of the project may have as much to do with its prestige as with practicality.

"This matches Mirax's business model: They do things that create a lot of attention and stand out," Stanaford said.

Yury Mereminsky, director of consulting at Penny Lane Realty, agreed that the eye-catching project would benefit Mirax's profile.

"The real added value will come from additional recognition of the project itself, the whole construction company. I'm sure mass media worldwide will be very interested in covering progress on the project," Mereminsky said.

Mirax, one of the country's largest developers, is valued at around $4 billion. The company is currently working on projects including the Federation Tower in Moskva-City and the Mirax Plaza.

Despite the outlandishness of the project's design, Peter Anderson, director of property management at Knight Frank, said economic logic behind it was sound.

"Rather than being a white elephant, I think it will be commercially viable," Anderson said. "It will certainly become a bit of a landmark."

Although prices for the apartments would undoubtedly be high, Larissa Afanasiyeva, director of the consulting department at Colliers International, said that in the current atmosphere, the project would not struggle to attract buyers. To justify the prices, the building would need to be part of a prestigious, high-end development, she said.

Afanasiyeva said the principal attraction for people living in the apartments were the changing views they offered. As such, it is integral to locate the building in an interesting new development, she said.

Asked whether St. Petersburg was similarly ready for such a development, Afanasiyeva said that present there was not the same demand for top-end projects in the city but that the situation could change in the future.

The Mirax project is not the first time plans for a spinning skyscraper have been drawn up for Moscow. In 1920, avant-garde architect Vladimir Tatlin unveiled designs for an iron and steel structure with revolving giant glass building blocks inside.

Due to exorbitant prices, however, the spectacular project, entitled Monument to the Third International, was shelved.