MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) – A historic Moscow steam-bath building has been demolished without permission by developers, a heritage preservation group said.
A contractor company, identified by the city administration as Elit Massiv, began unauthorized demolition work at the site of the Mozhaiskiye Bani (or Mozhaisk Saunas) in western Moscow late last month, despite an order from city inspectors to stop, and a fine of 200,000 rubles ($6,680), the Arkhnadzor preservation group said in a statement released on Saturday.
“As of today the building has been completely demolished,” Arkhnadzor's Natalia Samover told RIA Novosti.
The city department responsible for oversight of Moscow’s historic buildings could not be immediately reached for comment.
Built in 1953, the Mozhaiskiye Bani was a popular place for Muscovites to go to the sauna and do their laundry, but was shut down in 1995 for reconstruction.
In December, the city district’s assembly petitioned for the brick building, located in a specially-protected zone, to be listed as a city cultural heritage site.
According to documents obtained by Arkhnadzor, the demolished building will be replaced with a 17-storey apartment hotel complex with 72 rooms.