Around 300 dilapidated and uninhabited buildings in Moscow will be renovated and converted into offices and hotels, a Russian business daily said on Tuesday.
Of the 300 buildings designated for reconstruction, 200 are located in downtown Moscow. Some 30 of them are listed as architectural monuments.
The head of the city's property department admits that the buildings would have already been demolished if current legislation had not prevented it.
"The problem is that the demolition of these houses is prohibited under the current ban on infill residential development," Vladimir Silkin told Vedomosti.
It is, however, as yet unclear where funds of the renovation project will come from.
"It will be hard to find private investors for such projects: reconstruction is, as a rule, more expensive than construction from scratch, and some of these buildings are not designed to serve as a hotels or offices," said Tatyana Palchikova, who heads a real estate agency in Moscow.
Moscow's administration, led by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, is often criticized for destroying the city's architectural heritage. Despite strict laws on cultural objects, dozens of old buildings are demolished in Moscow every year in what some critics call a "demolition derby."
According to the Moscow architecture preservation society's website, more than 400 historical buildings from the 17th century onwards have been destroyed since Luzhkov became mayor in 1992. This figure includes 60 architectural monuments protected by the law.
MOSCOW, April 27 (RIA Novosti)