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Okhta Center Moves Outward

Gazprom Neft is seeking approval to build a skyscraper on the outskirts of St. Petersburg after protesters won a battle to move the tower away from the city center.

The project may be 15 percent to 25 percent higher or lower than the original design, Gazprom's Okhta Center project said in a statement late last week. The site is almost 10 kilometers away from the historic center, which doesn't violate laws on cultural preservation, according to the statement.

The contract to build the initially planned 400-meter skyscraper was estimated at 2.3 billion euros ($3.3 billion). Adapting the project will be 50 percent cheaper and take two years less time to build than drafting a new design, Okhta Center said.

St. Petersburg and Gazprom at the end of last year agreed to move the project. Historical preservation groups including UNESCO opposed building what was designed to be Europe's tallest tower near the city center, which is listed as a World Heritage Site.

The original complex was designed to serve as Gazprom Neft's headquarters and include a concert hall, art museum, hotel and business center. Gazprom hired United Arab Emirates builder Arabtec Holding to construct the facility. Gazprom Neft plans to move its main office from Moscow.

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