Reconstruction work on one of Moscow's oldest pedestrian streets, the Arbat, is set to begin after the capital's celebrations for City Day on Sept. 7 and 8.
The changes, which aim to give the street a facelift in honor of its 520th anniversary this fall, will cost an estimated $10 million, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing City Hall's housing and public works department.
The department said it had scheduled public auctions for Aug. 23 and 26. The lots for the replacement of the Arbat's granite pavement and embellishment of its pedestrian zone are to go under the hammer for 260 million rubles and 78.5 million rubles, respectively.
The upcoming 520th anniversary of the Arbat from Oct. 1 to 6 has sparked a wave of interest in giving the street a thorough facelift.
At a meeting of deputies on July 2, Acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin outlined plans to replace some of the Arbat's decorative architectural elements, reduce advertising and brush up outdoor cafes in order to make the Arbat a " more open and comfortable place."
At the same meeting, Sergei Kapkov, who heads City Hall's culture department, complained that the Arbat now resembles an "oriental bazaar," adding that this hardly matches the status of a street associated with the likes of Alexander Pushkin and Nikolai Gogol.