Russia plans man-made Black Sea island for Olympics

MOSCOW, Sep 24 (Reuters) Russia plans to build a 6 billion dollars artificial island off the coast of the Black Sea resort of Sochi ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games there, a Russian property developer said today.

The 250-hectare island will bear the name of Federation Island and will be shaped in the form of a map of Russia. Developer M-Industry Group said the island would be linked to the mainland by three bridges.

M-Industry said Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat would design the project. The design was shown to President Vladimir Putin last week during an investment conference in Sochi.

The idea echoes a similar project in Dubai, which is building 200 artificial islands in the shape of a map of the globe.

The island is not so far one of the sites earmarked for Olympic venues. The developers have not revealed what they intend to build on the island.

Russia, the world's second largest oil exporter, has reaped the benefits of high prices for its oil and gas in recent years and is now home to 43 dollar billionaires, according to Forbes magazine.

Real estate prices in Sochi soared 30 percent within a week of the International Olympic Committee announcing in July that Sochi had won its bid to host the winter games.

Land for development is limited by the terrain: Sochi is wedged into a narrow strip between steep, rocky mountains and the Black Sea.

Reuters JK DB2020

Story first published: Monday, September 24, 2007, 20:36 [IST]
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