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Business news, 09.02.2007 11:59

Petersburg Set To Be Crowned With Plaza

hotel_plaza By Yekaterina Dranitsyna

Staff Writer

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced plans to develop a new Crowne Plaza St. Petersburg in an historic building in the city center.

Last year the British company opened a Crowne Plaza hotel in Moscow.

According to the agreement, signed between IHG and Rastor Investments, the Crowne Plaza St. Petersburg will open in early 2009, IHG said last week in a statement.

“This project represents a unique opportunity to establish the Crowne Plaza brand in St. Petersburg. Russia is a strategic market for IHG. The strength of the Russian economy and increasing opportunities in this region have attracted hotel investors and operators, and raised the demand for international hotel brands,” Robin Wicks, IHG’s Chief Operating Officer for Europe, said in the statement.

The hotel will comprise 339 rooms, two bars, two restaurants, a swimming pool, a gym and a 750 square meter conference hall. It will be located in a historic, low-rise building in the Admiralteysky district. Situated near extensive shopping areas, the hotel will have a covered atrium with shops, bars and restaurants.

The hotel will be close to a number of historical and cultural attractions such as Nikolsky Cathedral and Yusupov Palace, as well as two metro stations and a further two railway stations. The hotel will aim at both business travelers and tourists.

IHG owns, manages, leases or franchises over 3,650 hotels and 543,775 rooms in nearly 100 countries or territories. The Group owns the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites and Hotel Indigo brands.

In Russia IHG operates four Holiday Inn hotels in Moscow providing 1290 rooms. In St. Petersburg, along with Crowne Plaza, the company is to open a Holiday Inn Ligovsky Prospekt and a Holiday Inn Moscovsky Prospekt — both of them in 2008. Altogether in the three hotels there will be a total of 968 rooms.

“St. Petersburg is currently lacking in quality business and travel accommodation but an increasing number of international hotel chains are starting to come to Russia’s cultural capital,” said Andrei Yakunin, Partner and Chief Financial Officer of Rastor Management.

“This new Crowne Plaza is not only contributing to a high standard of accommodation in St. Petersburg but also means an architectural monument built in 1789 is being resurrected,” he said.

“Crowne Plaza’s main competitors will be the 4- and 5-star hotels located along Nevsky Prospekt like Nevskij Palace, Radisson SAS and Novotel,” said Oleg Gromkov, consultant of Knight Frank St. Petersburg.

He estimated that investment would surpass $75 million with a payback period of seven to eight years. Depending on the costs of redevelopment, the total investment could be higher, he said.

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