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Train Station Set to Become Fun

Published: August 3, 2004 (Issue # 991)



  • Varshavsky station, built in 19th century, was closed for renovations in May 2001.
    Photo: Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times

The Varshavsky station, a 19th century city train station closed for renovation in May 2001, will be turned into an enormous movie theater cum entertainment center.

Moscow-headquartered film distribution and entertainment operator Investkinoproject and St. Petersburg's largest holding company Adamant are investing a total of $40 million into the reconstruction of the station, Investkinoproject's general director Alexander Timofeyev said Monday. The project's completion is expected by September 2005.

The new center will be called Le Train Bleu to commemorate the Calais-Mediterranean Express, more commonly known as Le Train Bleu, that ushered European aristocrats on vacation to the Mediterranean Sea in the late 1800s. "A list of devoted riders [of Le Train Bleu] included Churchill, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Toscanini, Rachmaninoff... ," Armchair France guidebook explains.

Declared by the New York Times to be one of the most beautiful trains of the world, the renovated Train Bleu was overly popular until the 1950s, when air travel gradually replaced train rides.

Timofeyev said that Le Train Bleu was the symbol of true success in the transportation industry - this is why Investkinoproject decided to use the story as the leitmotif in the reconstruction of one of the city's oldest train stations.

The idea of the project belonged to Investkinoproject, that picked Adamant as the developer. Investkinoproject is acting as a co-investor and partner in terms of advising on the concept of construction, Timofeyev said.

The investment funds were raised by Investkinoproject and Adamant, Timofeyev said, refusing to specify the stakes each company holds in the project.

Investkinoproject is also in possession of a share package and the land-leasing rights, Timofeyev said. He did not reveal the amount of the package.

Adamant representatives were not available for comments.

The 32,000 square meter center will accommodate nine screens, bowling, casino, billiard, gaming machines, a 3D ride, coffee-shop and several restaurants. The building will also include a shopping mall, developed by Adamant, featuring several chain boutiques. According to the architectural concept, worked out by Italian designer Jovanni Bartoli, both the outside and the inside facades of the stations will be fully preserved.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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