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Above St. Petersburg, Europe's Tallest Skyscraper Takes Shape
May 22, 2018 13:55 GMT
After years of delays, a towering new headquarters for Gazprom nears completion.
A helicopter snap of the Lakhta Center on May 19. The building has been dubbed "the corncob."
The tower was initially planned to loom over the low-slung historic center of St. Petersburg, the former imperial capital and Russia's second-largest city with around 5 million residents.
But an outcry from locals and a warning from UNESCO that the tower's central placement would "damage the image of Russia" led to the original plan being scrapped. In 2011, this parcel of land, around 10 kilometers northwest of St. Petersburg's historic center, was purchased.
The tower's foundation taking shape in 2014. State-owned oil giant Gazprom will pay for just over half of the cost, while the remainder is coming from St. Petersburg's municipal funds.
Gazprom has refused reveal the total cost of the project, but it has been estimated at $1.2 billion to $3 billion.
Concrete slopping into the foundations in 2015
Gazprom, which will house its new headquarters in the building, has long sought to relocate from Moscow, where the company says overloaded infrastructure has become "too tight for business expansion."
A view toward the city center as the tower takes shape. Along with office space, the tower will feature a public observation deck, as well as restaurants, shops, and a sports complex.
In January 2018, the tower's spire was lowered into place by crane.
With the spire locked in place, the tower reached its full height of 462 meters, eclipsing Moscow's Federation Towers (374 meters) to become Europe's tallest skyscraper. London's famous Shard is 310 meters high.
The tip of the tower on May 19. The upper floors will be wrapped in metal gauze, designed to prevent the buildup of ice, and the lower glass panels will be heated to prevent fogging.
A full moon sliding behind the tower on March 28. At right is the golden spire of St. Petersburg's Peter and Paul Cathedral.
Opposition to the building -- particularly to municipal funds for the project -- still exists, but those behind the project say St. Petersburg will benefit from the innovation it represents, telling The Wall Street Journal they had treated the city "with the respect that a veteran deserves but also with the freedom that a teenager needs."
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