Local Businesses Challenge Russian Director's Plan to Build New Moscow Film Festival Headquarters

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Nikita Mikhalkov

Landowners at the riverside site are objecting to his attempt to create a 10-hall multiplex.

MOSCOW – Oscar-winning Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov's dream of building a cinema "palace" to house the Moscow Film Festival has run into opposition from landowners at the riverside site he favors.

The owners of industrial businesses on land Mikhalkov has earmarked for an ambitious 10-hall multiplex near Moscow's Luzhniki sports stadium don't want to be involved in his plan, according to Russian media reports.

Mikhalkov should not dictate renovations for the area, business owners say, and they have demanded a separate survey and plan that takes into account industrial uses for the site.

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The companies fear that the plans -- which include the creation of housing and offices on the 14-acre site -- will not suit their businesses.

Moscow's city architecture department has already drawn up plans for the site, which Mikhalkov has long eyed as an ideal waterfront venue for creating a new festival headquarters far from its current main venue, the cramped, Soviet-era Oktyabr theater in the city center.

Still, Mikhalkov could yet get his way.

Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who is running for re-election in September, Monday announced ambitious plans to create a riverfront pedestrian area stretching from the city's famous Mosfilm Studios to Gorky Park.

Mikhalkov's preferred site lies within that zone and could benefit should those plans be realized.