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Completion of supertall Moscow skyscraper delayed until 2016


MOSCOW, February 2 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow skyscraper planned to be one of the world's tallest buildings will not be finished until at least 2016, four years behind schedule, a business daily said on Monday, referring to the Moscow mayor.

Kommersant said Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who visited the Russia Tower construction site in the International Business Center on Saturday, pointed to major violations of the construction schedule. The developer later told the paper the project, which was launched in September 2007, would be delayed until 2016.

"Despite the crisis, I will impose fines for not meeting the [construction] timeframe," Luzhkov said as quoted by Kommersant.

The paper also said oil firm Sibir Energy had dropped on Friday plans to buy the real estate assets, including 50% of the Russia Tower project, owned by its shareholder Shalva Chigirinsky. Sibir Energy planned to pay Chigirinsky $127 million, and take on $213 million of the entrepreneur's debt. The assets were earlier estimated at $340 million.

The entrepreneur, who came up against financing problems amid the global credit crunch late last year, will have to find a new investor, which analysts say is a tough task under the current circumstances.

"The developer's portfolio mainly comprises major projects that require massive investment. They are not marketable projects in the present reality," Jones Lang Lasalle partner Vladimir Pinayev told the paper.

Kommersant said Chigirinsky had promised to reveal his plans for the real estate projects later.

One of his top managers said the projects "are afloat, but making slow progress."

Chigirinsky's real estate assets also include the planned New Holland artificial island and the Passage luxury retail arcade in St. Petersburg, and the Tea Factory office and residential compound in Irkutsk in East Siberia.

Russia Tower's final height is due to be 612.2 meters (2,009 ft), and it is designed as a freestanding structure with a natural ventilation system.

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