SPB Court Tears Down Gazprom Skyscraper Plans

An image of how the Okhta Center would have looked had the plans not been torpedoed.

St. Petersburg activists have scored a court victory against Gazprom's plans to erect the 400-meter skyscraper in the city.

Kuibyshevsky District Court has canceled the decision of the city's Public Use and Protection of Monuments Committee, which in March 2012 excluded the proposed site from the cultural heritage protection list, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

The area where Gazprom was planning to build the Okhota Center contains the remains of an ancient Swedish fortress taken over by the Russian army during Peter the Great’s rule.  

Despite Gazprom's claims that it has invested 7.2 billion rubles ($226 million) in the project, the decision makes it impossible for any construction to be carried in the area.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service stated that local authorities illegally gave the company the development rights in 2009, and that the papers regarding the plot were signed by a city official who did not have the authority to do so.

The fight against Gazprom's plans to build the tower in the city mobilized members of the city's culture elite who waged a national campaign against it.

The court's decision comes a few days ahead of the annual St. Petersburg economic forum.

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