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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

Tuesday, Sept. 16


Lenexpo plays host to Tekhnodrev, a three-day convention that focuses on the woodworking industry in Russia. Promoting the latest technologies and trends, the event features not only exhibitors from some of Russia’s largest woodworking companies but representatives of the forestry industry, who will have their own coinciding forum.


Parlez-vous français? We don’t here at The St. Petersburg Times but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Join the British Book Center’s French Club meeting this evening at 6 p.m. in their location near Technologichesky Institut metro station.



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