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City, Activists in Uproar Over ZiL Foundry Facade

Once a Soviet carmaking giant, ZiL is undergoing a huge redevelopment.

Work was halted on part of the residential redevelopment of the former ZiL industrial area after a wall of the Soviet-era car factory's foundry, protected under local heritage laws, was knocked down.

Inspectors from the city's department of cultural heritage found that the facade of the foundry had been knocked down Sunday in what the department said was a "barbaric" way, according to a statement on its site.

Police were called after security workers on the site tried to block the inspectors as they tried to stop work. The company Matiko, which is behind the work, had been banned from demolishing the facade on Oct. 22 by a Moscow city commission.

The department said it would fight for no new construction on the site and said the company could be fined up to 5 million rubles ($76,000).

The factory, located close to the Avtozavodskaya metro station, was founded in 1916 but became famous in Soviet times when it produced cars and limousines for the elite.

The foundry was one of the few pre-revolutionary buildings on the ZiL site and had a wonderful system of colonnades and metal arched constructions, Archnadzor founder Konstantin Mikhailov wrote in a post on the architectural preservation's website Monday.

Most of the foundry had already been knocked down, Archnadzor wrote, blaming the city government for what it said was an illegal demolition.

Development of ZiL's industrial area is one of the biggest construction projects in the city, with more than a million square meters of residential buildings planned.

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