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SBD Global/September 3, 2013/Facilities

Russians Add To Zenit Arena Work Force, Consider Replacing Main Developer

The construction of Russia’s most expensive football stadium, St. Petersburg’s Zenit Arena, is still surrounded by uncertainty as city authorities request extra work force and plan to replace the main developer. The city’s construction committee has called on local construction companies to provide additional work force for the project, which has already found itself in the midst of controversy because of overblown costs. A spokesperson for the committee told SBD Global that 400 extra workers have already been attached to the construction site, and up to 2,000 more are to join over the next few weeks. She insisted that the addition of new workers would not increase the total cost of the project but was unable to give the most current figure, saying that "it is based on a large number of components." Meanwhile, city authorities are considering replacing the main developer, Transstroy. St. Petersburg Vice Governor Marat Oganesyan said that although city hall is satisfied with the quality of work, both the city government and the Russian Audit Chamber have "many issues" with the contract previously signed with Transstroy. A tender for a new contract and its value are expected to be announced soon.

AUDIT BOARD SCRUTINY: The construction of Zenit Arena, which is to host 2018 World Cup matches and 2017 Confederations Cup games, came under scrutiny of the Audit Chamber earlier this year, when it turned out that the project’s cost had gone from 6.7B rubles ($202M) to 34.9B rubles ($1B). The Audit Chamber said that the costs were deliberately exaggerated. The city construction committee’s spokesperson told SBG Global that the schedule, under which the construction is to be completed in late '15 and put into operation in '16, is to be observed. However, the Audit Chamber earlier expressed doubt that this deadline is realistic.

Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.
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