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Living the Dream: Luxury Real Estate

Published: June 29, 2014 (Issue # 1817)



  • The interiors of the Castel di Notte are just as impressive as the vineyards surrounding the estate, but such extravagance comes at a price.
    Photo: Advecs / For SPT

The tallest tower in Monaco, a medieval castle in Tuscany or a mansion with a magnificent view of Palace Square in St. Petersburg for many years such homes seemed little more than an unobtainable fantasy for many Russians. Today, however, dreams such as these really can come true with the only question being how much money people are ready to pay for the luxury of living like a king.

While the current economic instability has caused a slight decrease in the number of customers interested in buying pricey, unusual buildings, the luxury residential real estate market still has plenty of opportunities to satisfy the most demanding tastes. The most expensive residential real estate in St. Petersburg falls within the socalled Golden Triangle, the area bounded by the Admiralteyskaya and Dvortsovaya Embankments, the Fontanka river and Ulitsa Gorokhovaya. Residential property accounts for just over half of all the property located in this area, with restaurants, offices and shops occupying the rest.

The list of St. Petersburgs most expensive districts also includes Krestovsky and Kamenny Islands, and the area surrounding Tavrichesky Palace, according to Penny Lane Realty.

We have seven listings in St. Petersburg priced at $10 million or higher, said Pavel Pikalev, head of Penny Lane Realty in St. Petersburg, speaking to The St. Petersburg Times. These are either renovated, furnished apartments or places like a reconstructed four-story mansion on the Moika Embankment with a view of Palace Square and the Hermitage.

There are also plenty of listings in nearby suburbs, mostly in the Kurortny district. Prices there depend on how far the property is from the Gulf of Finland, the size of the land plot and its landscaping, he said.

However, despite the large number of high-end properties on the market that are located close to the city center, it is not enough to entice some Russian buyers. Instead these buyers are beginning to look across to foreign shores for property purchases where entire islands, such as Wadigi in the Fiji Archipelago, can be bought. Occupying eight hectares, an island such as this is only 50 minutes by boat from the mainland.

On one hand, it is an ideal place for solitude, where a public figure can hide from unwanted attention, said Alexander Romanenko, president of Advecs Real Estate, speaking to The St. Petersburg Times. On the other hand, it is also a developed and successful business, which includes a five-star villa with three bedrooms and everything necessary for stand-alone accommodation.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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