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City news, 09.12.2003 17:06

Novotel, Ibis Hotels Under Construction

The Accor French hotel company The Accor French hotel company will attempt to fill the city's need for mid-range hotels by bringing its Novotel and Ibis brands to St. Petersburg.

This is not Accor's first look at the St. Petersburg market. In spring of last year the company was engaged in negotiations with the St. Petersburg Hotel, and hotels at 19 Vladimirsky Prospekt and 18 Suvorovsky Prospekt. No contracts resulted.

Accor vice president for chain development Daniel Bourgois told Vedomosti that a memorandum of understanding has already been signed with ZAO Ligovsky 54 to build an Ibis three-star hotel on the site at the same address. The agreement should be signed by the end of the year.

Dmitry Gershon, a spokesman for the STEP general contractor that owns shares in Ligovsky 54, said STEP plans to start construction of the 200-room hotel in February 2004, with completion slated for the end of 2005. Gershon said an unnamed Russian company would fund the $10 million project.

Bourgois said the first Novotel hotel in St. Petersburg - a four-star hotel with 200 rooms - will open in mid-2004. The Russian company Galis Terminal is building the hotel on Ulitsa Mayakovskogo.

According to information from the St. Petersburg administration's committee on urban planning and architecture, Galis Terminal, which belongs to the Central Aviation Agency, purchased two plots costing $1.3 million in the city's 130th quadrant (between Nevsky Prospekt, Ulitsa Mayakovskogo, Zhukovskogo and Vosstaniya) in April 2001. Galis Terminal planned to build a three-star hotel with 265 rooms at a cost of between $6 million and $7 million. Galis Terminal representatives could not be reached for comment Friday.

Roman Lvov, regional manager of the Russian office of Caspian Developers, said construction of a Novotel hotel costs between $19 million and $24 million, or between $80,000 and $100,000 per room.

Bourgois said the company is also talking to the owner of the building on Pochtamtskaya Ulitsa where the opening of another 200-room Novotel is planned. Baltiiskaya Stroitelnaya Kompaniya received building rights to the plot at 4a Pochtamtskaya Ulitsa in July 2001.

According to Sergei Kovalyov, executive director of the Interkonsalt consulting company, Accor has good reason to open hotels under French brands in St. Petersburg. "The French and Germans are tied for second place after Scandinavians in terms of the number of tourists visiting St. Petersburg," he said.

Lvov said the St. Petersburg hotel market could easily handle an additional 30,000 beds, 70 percent of which would be in mid-range hotels.

The Accor Group runs 4,000 hotels under 11 brand names in 90 countries. Brands include Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, Suite Hotel and Red Roof. Sales in 2002 amounted to around 7.2 billion euros. The company's only hotels in Russia are two Novotel hotels in Moscow.

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