UNESCO says ‘nyet’ to Gazprom’s St. Petersburg skyscraper

By Anastasia Ustinova
Bloomberg News

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — OAO Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia’s natural-gas exporter, will change the location of its planned skyscraper in St. Petersburg after protesters said the building would spoil the city’s historic skyline.

The city government and Gazprom made a “mutual decision” to move the project, Evgeniya Altfeld, a spokeswoman for Governor Valentina Matviyenko, said in phone interview today.

Historical preservation groups including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, opposed building what was designed to be Europe’s tallest tower near the city center, which is listed as a World Heritage Site.

Designed by U.K.-based RMJM Architects, the complex would serve as Gazprom Neft’s headquarters and include a concert hall, art museum, hotel and business center. Gazprom hired Arabtec Holding Co., the largest builder in the United Arab Emirates, to construct the facility.

Image: Architect’s rendering of the Okhta tower.