Page last updated at 19:04 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Moscow super skyscraper halted

An artist's impression of the finished Russia Tower (image from Norman Foster and Partners website)
The Russia Tower had been due for completion by 2012

The Russian company building Europe's tallest building has halted work on the project, citing the global financial crisis.

The Norman Foster-designed Russia Tower being built in Moscow's new central business district by developer Russian Land would be 600m (1,970ft) high.

Company head Shalva Chigirinsky said that work was being halted because of the credit crunch.

Norman Foster and Partners told the BBC it had not been informed of the freeze.

The tower was due to be completed by 2012 as part of the new business district dubbed Moscow City. Building work started in September 2007.

It would have 118 floors with housed offices, a five-star hotel and residential apartments.

Moscow is already home to the tallest building in Europe, the 268-metre Naberezhnaya Tower.

'No credit'

Announcing that there were also difficulties with another of the company's big Moscow projects, the reconstruction of the Russia Hotel, Mr Chigirinsky said his company was having to cut its workforce.

He told Interfax, one of Russia's most trusted news agencies, that Russian Land projects had "suffered" from being directed at the "super-luxury" segment of the market.

"Our problem is that we cannot carry out these projects in the current economic situation and given the current state of financial institutions in the country and abroad," he said.

"The interest rate is high and there are no credit resources."

Nobody at Russian Land was available to speak to the BBC on Friday.

Asked about Mr Chigirinsky's comments, a Norman Foster Partners spokesperson in London replied: "We haven't received any instruction about the project being on hold."

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