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City news, 20.12.2004 18:00

Chinese to Build Chinatown in St. Petersburg

The Baltic City The Chinese have planned a sweeping $1.25 billion project for St. Petersburg. Shanghai Industrial Investment will build a Chinatown on 206 hectares in the Krasnoselsky district of St. Petersburg, four kilometers from President Putin's residence, Constantine Palace. This is China's first massive investment project abroad. Today, architectural plans for the megacomplex will be submitted to the city administration, reported Finansoviye Izvestia.

"It is going to be a modern high-tech European megacomplex," said Sergei Nikitin, the head Russian architect for the project. Artist's renditions of the project include concrete and glass high-rise buildings, green lawns, cozy cottages, giant space-age metal structures, and elite hotels on the Gulf of Finland.

The complex includes a 35,000 person residential neighborhood, a commercial and trade zone with hypermarkets, boutiques and restaurants, a hotel office center, and a commercial park. Fifty percent of the park will be covered in greenery and the other 50% will be devoted to entertainment and commerce. The area will feature exhibition halls, clubs, sports fields, a water park and outdoor stages.

The Chinese megacomplex is essentially a city within a city. It will have 4 general education schools, 5 nursery schools, 6 libraries, a hobby center for children, an art school, 2 clinics, and even a first aid station. The Chinese call their project the Baltic City or the Baltic Pearl. They are prepared to begin the first stage of construction in the summer of next year in order to finish the project in five years.

An official in the Krasnoselsky administration told the paper that local residents are upset and St. Petersburg deputies "do not clearly see the economic, demographic or commercial aspects of the project."

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