Openings Russian Federation

Abramovich’s $400m for St Petersburg docks

Billionaire will fund development of derelict site to include museums and galleries

Roman Abramovich and his art loving partner Dasha Zhukova

ST PETERSBURG. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is to fund the $400m restoration and development of New Holland island, an 18th-century naval dockyard in the centre of St Petersburg. The site, which now sits abandoned and covered in rubble, will be transformed into a commercial and cultural centre with museums and art galleries.

St Petersburg vice governor Igor Metelsky said that the money for the project would come from Abram­­ovich’s investment company Millhouse.

John Mann, a spokes­man for Millhouse, confirmed that the company had “won a tender to restore and develop New Hol­land” and added that an investment contract for the site would be “signed shortly”.

The Millhouse proposal “envisions [the development of] 103,000 sq. m of space,” said Mann. This includes “restored historic buildings plus new construction.” The development will include office space as well as museums and art galleries.

Mann said it was too early to know whether Abramovich’s partner Dasha Zhukova would be involved with plans for the island and whether she might open a branch there of her Moscow gallery, The Garage.

In 2006, plans to develop the island to a design by British architect Norman Foster were abandoned after investors pulled out because of the economic downturn.

Mann said architects and experts hired by Millhouse are now drafting a “full-fledged master plan”.

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