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    St. Petersburg governor says no decision yet on Gazprom tower

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    The city government of St. Petersburg has yet to decide on Gazprom's controversial project to build a skyscraper in the historic center, the governor said on Thursday.

    ST. PETERSBURG, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - The city government of St. Petersburg has yet to decide on Gazprom's controversial project to build a skyscraper in the historic center, the governor said on Thursday.

    Valentina Matviyenko said that the city authorities have only ruled that if the Okhta business center is to be built, it will not be subject to height restrictions. The tower is planned to be 403-meters (1,322 feet) high.

    The potential construction location, within the territory of a UNESCO World Heritage site, includes a historical monument, the Swedish Nienshants fortress, which is protected under a 2001 law as a special zone in which buildings can be no higher than 40 meters.

    "The decision on the construction has yet to be made. The project is under development. It must undergo comprehensive state expert evaluations, including a geological one," Matviyenko said.

    However, she said: "I don't see any reasons to cancel the project, on the condition that the expert evaluations are successfully completed."

    The $2 billion project, sponsored by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, is expected to be fully completed by 2016, with the main tower to be finished by 2012.

    Russian Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev submitted a report penned by Russia's cultural heritage regulator to a St. Petersburg prosecutor last week, complaining against the plans.

    Hundreds of people gathered in St. Petersburg on Saturday to protest against the Gazprom tower plans.

     

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