Foreign tourists will be able to sleep on the Red Square in 2008

Despite the ill-fated efforts to make Moscow a host city for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Moscow government is still keen to develop the city’s tourist infrastructure. Speaking at the opening of a hotel industry fair last Thursday, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov confirmed that a large-scale program aimed at building hundreds of hotels in Moscow was starting to bear fruit.

“A new hotel will be put into operation in Moscow every 1.5 or 2 months,” said Luzhkov.

According to the Moscow mayor, the city hotel modernization, restoration and construction program is being implemented at a very high pace. Luzhkov stressed feasibility of the program.

“There’s a lack of hotels in Moscow these days. The city has 180 hotels capable of accommodating 70 thousand guests. A majority of those hotels are quite costly. The city hotels will be able to accommodate up to 200 thousand guests after completion of the program. The places we are going to build are mostly 3-star hotels and motels, which will be affordable especially to average tourists,” said Luzhkov at the opening of the fair “Hotel Industry” in Moscow. Moscow’s mayor said 240 new hotels would be built in the city, which should enable Moscow to accommodate 7 million tourists a year – twice the actual number. “The hotel-building program should put the city on a par with London, Paris, and New York. The hotel business is a good business that pays well,” Luzhkov said.

A few days ago the large-scale hotel building program could have been filed under yet another pet project of the Moscow mayor, the one that is designed to spawn new specimens of Luzhkov architecture. But last Thursday the Kremlin expressed a rather unexpected backing to Moscow mayor’s recent construction initiative. Speaking at a press conference, head of president’s office Vladimir Kozhin said that the federal government was ready to partake in the program. Kozhin promised that a new hotel complex with an underground parking facility will be built by 2008 in close proximity to the Kremlin walls. The new super hotel Kremlevski should be built opposite the Spasskaya Tower, in a historic building housing the Sredni shopping mall.

The new hotel should be located at the following address: Red Square, building 5.

Despite being a historic area featuring 19th-century buildings, it will undergo “most thorough restoration.” Estimated costs of the project now stand at $150 million, according to Alexei Gnusarev, CEO of United Industrial Corporation, a chief investor of the project. The hotel complex Kremlevski is also expected to include an auction house and an apartment building.

Renowned architects and construction companies have been reportedly hired to do work for the project. “On completion of the project, the complex will be one of Russia’s many symbols,” said Gnusarev. In his turn, Vladimir Kozhin assured the reporters that “the authorities have by now conducted most serious studies so that the upcoming construction project will not jeopardize the unique architectural buildings located in the vicinity.”

Vremya Novostei

Translated by Guerman Grachev

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov