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St. Petersburg Asked to Back $500M DreamWorks Theme Park

A major property developer is waiting for approval from St. Petersburg to build a $500 million theme park based around DreamWorks characters like Shrek by 2015.

Regions Group, Russia's fourth-largest retail property owner, wants to build an indoor park with 40 attractions and a three-star hotel with 400 rooms on a 35-hectare plot of land in the city's Krasnogvardeysky district, company official Olga Kudrina said.

"We want to start construction by the end of the year, and if that happens, we will be able to implement our project in 2015," she told a meeting of the St. Petersburg governor's investment council on Monday, RIA Novosti reported.

Regions Group entered into a licensing agreement with U.S.-based DreamWorks Animation earlier this year and also hopes to open similar indoor theme parks in Moscow and Yekaterinburg by 2015, according to information on both company's websites.

Regions Group is asking St. Petersburg City Hall to change the status of the desired land plot, currently designated as an industrial zone, to allow construction to start.

Kudrina said 15 billion rubles has been allotted for the park, which is to be based on characters from the film franchises "Shrek," "Madagascar" and "Puss in Boots."

St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said Monday that his office would make a decision within two weeks.

The plans for the three Russian cities call for the first Disneyland-style theme parks in the country. Once completed, they would be the largest indoor theme parks in Europe, with each boasting a mixed-use movie and concert hall, 4D movie theater and a retail center with 11,000 parking spaces, in addition to the attractions and hotel.

"The height of each park will be 35 meters, comparable to a 13-floor building, giving visitors the sense of being outdoors," DreamWorks said in a statement in February.

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