St. Petersburg OKs 77-Story Gazprom Skyscraper

The governor of Russia's cultural capital, St. Petersburg, has approved construction of the new headquarters of Russia's powerful state energy company, Gazprom. City officials say the 77-story building will be an architectural masterpiece. An architectural preservation society say it will be "monstrous." U.N. cultural authorities say the skyscraper could threaten the city's U.N. World Heritage Site status.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And the last word in business today also comes from Russia. The word is tower power. This week, the governor of Russia's cultural capital, St. Petersburg, gave her final approval for construction of a new skyscraper. Gazprom Tower will be the new headquarters of Russia's powerful state energy company Gazprom. City officials say the 77-story building will be an architectural masterpiece. An architectural preservation society says it will be monstrous.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

In fact, this building has faced controversy ever since the announcement. Opponents fear it will destroy St. Petersburg's famously beautiful low- slung skyline, one dotted with so many historic buildings that the city center was designated a U.N. World Heritage Site. U.N. cultural authorities say the skyscraper could threaten that status, but as the editor of a Russian architecture magazine said to a British newspaper, Gazprom is, quote, "the richest company in Russia, and they really want to show off."

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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