The businessman Telman Ismailov, who turned out to be disgraced after the construction of a premium hotel in Turkey Mardan Palace worth of 1.4 billion dollars, has found a way to rehabilitate his business in Russia. Having lost the Cherkizovsky market and several major assets in Moscow last year, the owner of AST Group agreed to build a hotel complex with 4-5 thousand rooms in the Imereti Valley. Mr. Ismailov's return ticket to business in Russia through the Sochi Olympics may cost him $ 1 billion.
Senior government source told RBC daily about the Olympic plans of Mr. Ismailov. According to him, the founder of the AST Group decided to enter the mega-project "Sochi-2014" and offered to the Russian authorities his services as an investor - developer of the hotel complex for 4.2 thousand numbers. The number of the guest rooms invested by Mr. Ismailov may be increased up to 5 thousand rooms.
Once an entrepreneur provided federal officials with guarantees for the feasibility of this project the principal decision was taken in his favor, the government source said. According to RBC daily, appropriate arrangements with the State Corporation Olimpstroy were reached last week.
The AST Group could not comment on this. The central office of the company informed that there is no management at the place. The company “AST-Kapstroy» is unaware of the coming Olympic construction.
The two interlocutors of RBC daily from the government and “Olimpstroy” could not name specific projects which Telman Ismailov is going to finance. According to the official site of the GC “Olimpstroy”, eight hotel facilities of different classes of almost 1.3 thousand rooms anda sports complex with a three-star hotel with 240 seats need investors.
According to the most conservative estimates, the construction of 5-thousand-rooms hotels can cost Telman Ismailov about $ 1 billion, Director General of "Ghost Hotel Management” (hotel structure Bazel) Sergey Kolesnikov says. Senior Vice President of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Hotels Marina Smirnova assesses the minimum amount of required funding at $ 750 million –2 thousand dollars per 1 square meter. The total area of the hotel complex by the AST Group in the Imereti Valley could reach up to 375 thousand square meters meters (75 sq. m/room).
According to Ms. Smirnova, AST can create a chain of 15-20 hotels in the Olympic capital. Debutant at the Russian hotel market, Mr. Ismailov claims immediately to gain 40% of the hotel market in the Imereti Valley which, according to JLL, will be 12.5 thousand numbers in total. The Moscow asset of AST has only a small hotel "Mayak" in Fili, as well as construction of the premium hotels in the area of 0,3 ha on Nikitsky Boulevard.
According to the market participants, Olympic investments would be a return ticket for Mr. Ismailov to the Russian business, which he had almost lost because of the fierce political scandal which burst around the Mardan Palace and Cherkizovsky market last year. The attack of the federal government over the empire AST forced Telman Ismailov to part with a part of Moscow business, which had made the entrepreneur one of the wealthiest Russians. According to the source of RBC daily who is aware of the situation in the group, Mr. Ishmael gave up a few iconic assets to his business partner, including the restaurant "Prague" and the banquet hall "Safisa”.
To get redeemed, the entrepreneur has to invest in major projects, which are known to have no economy and to be of social nature, the market participants believe. In winter, Telman Ismailov, as the representative of the Russian community of Mountain Jews, declared the possibility of financing some projects in Chechnya, and especially the football club “Terek”. His vice president has been appointed the son of the businessman Sarhan.
Source: RBC-daily from 05.04.2010