Moscow's city property management has said it will auction off the property housing Yeliseyevsky Gastronom, a turn-of-the-century gourmet grocery store that has long been a city landmark.
The auction price for the premises containing the food store, an art nouveau masterpiece of stained glass, gilt columns and dangling chandeliers on Tverskaya Ulitsa in central Moscow, will start at no less than 2.5 billion rubles ($47 million), a city property management press release said late last week.
Part of the 5,300 square meter space is currently rented by the Yeliseyevsky grocery store, which the Moscow city government said would likely remain a tenant given that the property must retain its distinctive, food emporium style thanks to cultural heritage laws.
"The building … is a federally protected cultural heritage site, and therefore the area on sale will be subject to protective regulations. But obviously it would be profitable to a new owner to preserve the Yeliseyevsky shop as a brand," Vladimir Yefimov, head of Moscow's city property division, was quoted as saying in the press release.
The building, originally an 18th-century palace, was bought by St. Petersburg merchant Grigory Yeliseyev in the late 1800s and opened in 1901 as an imported food emporium. The Soviet government nationalized the store following 1917 revolution but it remained a famous grocery store, often stocked with goods unattainable elsewhere. In the early 1980s the delicatessen became the site of one of the U.S.S.R.'s biggest corruption scandals when its manager, Yury Sokolov, was convicted and then executed for bribe-taking.