Mega Russian Sustainable Tourism Project in North Caucasus Mountains Takes Gold Trophy in Asia’s Top Commercial Property Development Competition
HONG KONG, Nov. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The company overseeing construction of a massive system of ski, beach and natural health spa resorts covering 50,000 sq km in Russia’s North Caucasus range, stretching 1,200 km from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea and forming the country’s southern border with Asia, took a gold trophy in the renowned MIPIM Asia global property development contest, becoming the country’s first company ever to achieve such a high level of distinction in this sphere.
OJSC Northern Caucasus Resorts Company (NCRC) executives accepted the trophy, based on innovative, technical, environmental and architectural merits, in the Central & Western Asia Futura category at the annual MIPIM Asia awards that ended Thursday. MIPIM, or Le Marche International des Professionnels d’Immobilier, is the premier world promoter of the international real estate trade. Eighty entrants, the highest number ever, from 15 countries took part in the overall contest, including China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia. The other two finalists that NCR bested in their category were the planned future Abu Dhabi International Airport Midfield Complex in the UAE and Baku White City in Azerbaijan.
“The distinguished jurors’ and conference participants’ choice of our sustainable tourism project over other large future commercial development initiatives in Asia demonstrates that we are on the right trajectory to make the North Caucasus a destination of choice for sport and well-being enthusiasts from all around the world,” commented NCRC Chief Executive Officer Alexei Nevsky. “I was struck, too, by the spontaneous emotional response of the audience when we were announced the gold trophy winner. Clearly people see the vital importance of this regional renewal effort and they want to show their support.”
Moscow-based NCRC was established last December to drive the regional tourism project, which will create up to 300,000 new jobs. In collaboration with the federal government, the development is part of a long-term strategy to address the economic lag that underlies social tensions in the depressed North Caucasus region. The plan targets industrial, agricultural and youth vocational training reform.
With the explicit support of Russia’s leadership, the federal government initially capitalized the bold undertaking with a $2.0-billion allocation for development of transportation, communications, electrical power and other infrastructure. NCRC is actively pursuing investment from financial institutions and global property developers. The ten-year project is anticipated to require up to $30 billion to complete all phases, including a cluster of five world-class skiing and five modern seaside resorts, as well as an array of health spas that will take advantage of the area’s legendary healing mineral and hot springs.
To facilitate international and domestic investment, the Russian government has designated the entire 50,000-sq-km development area a special economic zone (SEZ). State guarantees will cover up to 70 percent of investments for three to ten years. The state will impose no corporate or transportation taxes for the first ten years, no land taxes for five years and no VAT tax will be applied on equipment imported into the SEZ. The project offers opportunities for foreign companies interested in hospitality, health and wellness, food and beverage, retail, real estate, logistics and warehousing industries.
“The award to NCRC of the top prize in its category by leading commercial property experts from around the world clearly shows strong international appreciation for our development strategy,” said Laurent Vigier, director of European and international affairs for Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC). The French state-owned banking group and long-term investor has signed a strategic joint venture with NCRC to provide advanced technical, legal, planning and environmental expertise on the basis of French mountain development to support the Russian initiative. “It’s evidence that the project is spot-on and will receive wide support from foreign investors looking to connect now with major future opportunities,” added M. Vigier, who joined NCRC executives here to accept the award.
About 20 French companies have already expressed interest in investing in ski lifts, hotels, airports, mountain tunnel and other construction projects. The first investment from Asia came Nov. 2 in the form of a joint venture with Korean Western Power Company to build up to five power and heating plants in the region, integrating renewable energy sources from wind and solar generation. The investment is worth approximately $1.0 billion. During the MIPIM Asia exhibition, NCRC also signed a memorandum of understanding with Suprema Associates of Singapore to invest up to $1.0 billion in hotel construction and retail.
NCRC’s skiing resorts, the centerpiece of the overall project and including the tallest peak in Europe, Mt. Elbrus (5,642 m), will open between Dec. 2012 and Dec. 2015, in time for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in the Black Sea coastal town of Sochi. Once completed, the North Caucasus ski cluster will become the world’s third-largest ski destination, rivaling famed resorts located in the European Alps and the North American Rockies. With over 2.9 billion people in Russia, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia living within a five-hour flight from the ski resorts, over ten million tourists of various income levels are expected to visit the mountains annually.
Editors: Updates Nov. 14 Northern Caucasus Resorts release with specific win of Gold Trophy award in Central and Western category at MIPIM
SOURCE OJSC Northern Caucasus Resorts Company