Kresty Prison set for major overhaul

July 27, 2006 at 2:05 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, July 26 (UPI) -- Europe's largest prison, St. Petersburg's Kresty Prison, is set to undergo a major transformation once a real estate deal is completed to sell the property.

The St. Petersburg (Russia) Times reported that the landmark building, constructed at the end of the 19th century, will likely be changed into a shopping mall, an entertainment center or -- in an ironic twist -- a hotel.

A new modernized prison, reportedly three times the size of the Kresty Prison, will be built in a new location on the outskirts of the Russian city.

Key to the real estate negotiations is the landmark status of the building which would disallow any new owners of the property from demolishing the building, the Times said.

"Kresty will be passed on to an investor, who will be able to develop it into a hotel, entertainment or office center -- anything that comes to the investor's mind, as long as the building is preserved," Russia's Federal Service for Punishment public relations head Alexander Sidorov said.

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