I spent an afternoon in Moscow's $12 billion financial district, home to some of Europe's tallest skyscrapers and where Trump once wanted to build a tower. Here's what it looks like.

moscow financial district

Just five years ago, Moscow’s financial district, known as
Moscow City, was a desolate construction site with graffiti-covered
walls and empty streets, according to a Moscow-based photographer
who visited the area for Business Insider.

Konstantin Salomatin said the streets were “strikingly empty”

when he visited in early 2015, and he photographed abandoned
construction sites and graffiti-marked walls.

On a recent trip to Moscow, Olga Novikova from Moscow Sotheby’s
International Realty gave me a tour of the neighborhood.

Here’s what it looks like.

Moscow metro is known for its efficiency and ornate stations. I
rode it and found that it’s miles ahead of New York City’s subway

walked down Moscow’s glitzy, mile-long shopping street that travel
guides compare to the Champs-Élysées in Paris and NYC’s Fifth Ave
— and it fell totally short of the hype

Moscow’s financial district, known as Moscow City, was a desolate
construction zone just four years ago.

Moscow-based photographer

Konstantin Salomatin
visited the area for Business Insider in
early 2015 and found abandoned construction sites and “strikingly
empty” streets in the district that was built to rival Manhattan
and London.

Now, the $12 billion district is home to some of Europe’s tallest
skyscrapers — and there are more under construction.

On a recent trip to Moscow, I got a tour of the neighborhood by
Olga Novikova from Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty.

It took us about 30 minutes to drive to Moscow City from central
Moscow, but Moscow’s notoriously bad traffic can make it take much

As we approached in the car, I was surprised to see the cluster
of modern-looking skyscrapers, which were a stark contrast to the
historical architecture in the center of Moscow.

Moscow City is a prestigious address for Russian businesses to have
their headquarters, Novikova told me.

Moscow City,
the largest investment project in Moscow
, is home to primarily
financial and banking companies, according to a December 2016
report from global consulting firm Knight Frank.

The report noted that the development of Moscow City should have
been completed in 2007, but construction was delayed during the
2008-2009 financial crisis. 

President Donald Trump once wanted to build a tower in the area.

As Forbes reported
, in November 2013, after Russian billionaire
Aras Agalarov hosted the Miss Universe contest in Moscow, Trump
tweeted, “… TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next …”

In October 2015, when Trump was running for president,
he signed a non-binding letter of intent
 to work with a
Russian developer to build a 250-residence luxury residential tower
in Moscow’s financial district, according to Reuters.

But the project never actually materialized.  

When I visited Moscow City, I was surprised to see the streets
bustling with activity.

It didn’t look anything like the
bleak photos of empty streets
I’d seen from 2015.

Novikova told me most of the people I was seeing were those who
work in the district.

I saw a modern shopping center with stores like Uniqlo and H&M,
as well as a McDonald’s, which can all be found in central Moscow.

I saw several luxury cars — think Mercedes and Lexus — on
the streets.

Towards the center of the district is the Federation Tower, which
was once the tallest skyscraper in Europe.

at 1,126 feet
, Federation Tower was recently
surpassed in height by the Lakhta Center
in Saint Petersburg,
which topped out at 1,516 feet and is expected to be finished
sometime in 2019.

Moscow City is also home to towers including OKO, Neva Tower No.
2, Mercury City Tower, Eurasia Tower, and the Capital City Moscow
Tower — all of which rank among
the 10 tallest skyscrapers in Europe.

Neva Towers is a double-tower complex that will include offices and
luxury apartments to rival condos in New York and Miami, according
to the developers.

Neva Tower No. 1, which is expected to be finished in August
2019, will be made up entirely of residences ranging in price from about
$315,000 to more than $13 million
, including a $13.75 million
penthouse, a spokesperson for Renaissance Development told me.

The amenities in the complex will include a 75,000-square-foot
private park, a private cinema for 10 people, squash courts, a
fitness center, a music room, and a hammam spa.

The shorter tower, Neva Tower No. 2, which will be finished in
2020, will contain offices through the 28th floor and then
apartments on top.

I got a peek into the unfinished penthouse of Neva Towers No. 1,
which is priced at $13.75 million.

The 9,870-square-foot duplex penthouse will feature a private
indoor swimming pool and a massive wraparound terrace. While the
space is still under construction, it did indeed remind me of
similar luxury apartments I’ve visited in Miami and New York

But the price differences are significant.
In Miami, I toured a 6,000-square-foot, three-story penthouse

that’s selling for $48 million, and in
New York, a 6,234-square-foot, full-floor condo
is going for
$58.5 million.

A little after 5 p.m., Moscow City workers were starting their
commute home, either by metro or by car.

Moscow City is about
40 minutes from Red Square
on the metro.

As I walked through Moscow City, in some ways it made me think of
New York’s financial district, with its sleek skyscrapers and
business people.

But while the district is home to what claims to be the highest
restaurant in Europe, Ruski, which sits on the 85th floor of the
OKO skyscraper, I noticed a distinct lack of the type of liveliness
that comes from restaurants, shops, and entertainment at the ground

I also found the green space in the financial district to be
severely lacking.

There were a few landscaped patches and trees here and there,
but as a whole, the absence of greenery made the area feel rather

Moscow City has changed drastically in the past four years,
transforming from a dilapidated construction zone into a business

Despite its growth, Moscow City doesn’t seem to offer much for
tourists or the average Moscow resident, and I didn’t see much of a
reason to visit if you don’t work there.

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
I spent an afternoon in Moscow's billion financial district, home to some of Europe's tallest skyscrapers and where Trump once wanted to build a tower. Here's what it looks like.