Radisson Blu Hotel Odessa – Trouble ahead?

December 1, 2017

Odessa based construction company Double W, announced through its CEO Alexey Parkhomchuk, the construction of a Radisson Blu hotel on the site of The Sailor’s Palace upon the sacred ground of Primorsky Boulevard in the heart of historical Odessa.

Mr Parkhomchuk was wax lyrical about the high-tech, environmentally and/or energy efficient design (a design which nobody in Odessa – at least so far as the public is concerned – has seen).  “We were able to achieve (by design) a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 66% (1.3 thousand tons), a reduction in water consumption of 64% (33 million liters), savings in electricity – about $ 270 thousand per year … We are talking about the facility , which is capitalized, and then will be sold.For 10 years, this amount (savings) increases our selling cost by at least $ 3 million.”

Mr Parkhomchuk also claimed that with LEED Gold standards and purchase of the necessary equipment (special sensors, heat panels, etc.), EUR1.2 million will have to be invested additionally, however, energy savings after the facility is put into operation will be EUR300,000 per year, therefore return on costs is about four years.  The Scandinavian Environmental Fund (NEFCO) and the Danish Investment Fund (IFU) have also agreed to fund the project.

Notwithstanding that, apparently 75% of the design costs were also covered by grants.

There is no reason to object to environmentally friendly, resource efficient construction – none whatsoever.  In fact it should be actively encouraged.  Ukraine is a particularly energy wasteful nation.

Further it is claimed that the Rezidor Hotel Group will manage the hotel – they apparently manage Radisson Blu hotels previously built by Double W in Ukraine and Georgia.

Aside from energy efficiency, clearly the target market for the hotel will be for those tourists who once stayed in Crimea and who in recent years have come to Odessa instead.

Bravo!  All technological and business model boxes ticked.

But it is entirely unclear what has been said to the foreign investors and grant givers.  It appears very likely that there will be problems.

For as already stated Primosky Boulevard is hallowed ground to all who live in the city of Odessa.  It is part of the historical city centre – in fact it is a main feature of it, and therefore adored.

This not only places legislative restrictions upon development within the zoned historical city centre, it is a location that is extremely emotive for the local constituency.

A reader need only recall the similar issues of The Green Theatre, attempts to deface Fransuski Boulevard, and the recent violence of the Summer Theatre on Gorsad (the latter equally hallowed ground in the historical city centre) to understand just how emotive any changes along Primorsky Boulevard will be.

Tread ye very, very carefully ye designers, developers, investors, and facility managers!  This is not just any land plot in Odessa.  It is sacred ground situated well within the very soul of the city and its million plus dwellers.  Considerate construction is required.

A wise investor would perhaps do their own due diligence and public opinion surveys.  Rely not upon what a developer or City Hall may claim.

Any new Radisson Blu will undoubtedly be rigorously, and ultimately violently opposed if necessary, unless it fully meets the sensibilities of the local constituency.

“Compromises” with City Hall and other developers that have eventually yet repeatedly proven to fail the local constituency, have long since lost their societal appeal.

As far as design and construction are concerned, local sensibilities will not only relate to a historical facade in keeping with the rest of Primorsky Boulevard – something even the current nest of corruption with City Hall would insist upon.

The sensibilities will relate to the height of any proposed construction too.

There will be no accepting of claims that if the facade be only 3 stories high (like the rest of Primorksy Boulevard), that any gradual heightening (think of a wedge shaped affair) as the building moves back from the Boulevard frontage will be accepted.

Primorsky Boulevard is a long historic street.  Any new construction will be viewed from all angles as people walk along Primorsky Boulevard, and also the historic streets behind it.  To stand directly in front of it and claim that higher stories therefore cannot be seen will not hold any water with the city residents.

There will be no accepting that a 5 or 7 story hotel that looks like, but dwarfs all the other 3 story historic building.

The city centre skyline outside the historical zone (but as close as possible to it) has been repeatedly and rudely violated since Mayor Trukhanov came to power – much to the annoyance of the local constituency.

Mayor Trukhanov and City Hall have however, until Gorsad and the associated violence, refrained from permanently scaring the zoned historical city centre.  The first real attempt resulted in real violence.  Quite simply any further attempts to mutilate the historical city centre will be a step far beyond what will be tolerated by the local constituency.

Otherwise law abiding citizens, regardless of age or gender, will be prepared to physically fight and be arrested to preserve not only the historical look, but the historical skyline to if necessary.  Let there be no mistake.

Quite simply, whatever design Double W has, and no matter how meeting the demands of the local constituency may affect any projected ROI figures, the Radisson Blu hotel project will have to be only three stories high throughout, and have a facade entirely in keeping with the rest of Primorsky Boulevard if violence is to be avoided.  Nothing else will be accepted by the local constituency.

Assuredly construction, if it occurs, will be monitored daily by activists and ever expanding civil groups.  There will be no room for bluffing or exceeding planning permissions.  At the first sign of deviation, undoubtedly “civic-orientated demolition work” will occur to prevent the “accidental construction” of something that is not meant to be there.

Almost daily the blog is now invited to join social media groups to prevent the aesthetic destruction of the historical city centre.

Petitions to the entirely absent and absolutely useless Ministry of Culture, and to the feckless City Hall, have been started and are gaining thousands and thousands of signatures relating to The Summer Theatre and the Green Theatre.  Indeed it took less than 36 hours to reach the required number of signatures to petition for the Green Theatre to force a City Hall response.  The Summer Theatre is now also past that threshold – with the Oblast Governor calling upon the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the land leasing arrangements too.

A petition to the Culture Ministry to prevent the Radisson Blu being over three stories high has already begun – fueled by the fact that no design for the Radisson Blu has been placed in the public domain despite Mr Parkhomchuk stating “the Radisson Blu hotel will be built on the site of the Seamen’s Palace on Primorsky Boulevard in the same area of ​​Odessa, all formalities regarding the purchase of the corresponding land plot have already been completed.”

Anger grows.

Those with influence in Kyiv that read this blog would perhaps consider it wise to encourage the Ministry of Culture to involve itself now with regard to this matter – for clearly an angry constituency is preparing for a war over the fate of its historical city centre – and that war can be prevented by intervention over both the proposed Radisson Blu on Primorski Boulevard, and also with regard to Gorsad and the Summer Theatre.

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