Shamovskaya hospital left without a hotel operator?

A Turkish developer Polimex breaks off a partnership with Rixos Hotels, concentrating on the development of its own business

Shamovskaya hospital left without a hotel operator? Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Despite many difficulties associated with possible loss of the Turkish investor, the transformation of the Shamovskaya hospital into a luxury hotel continues, but with some losses. As Realnoe Vremya found out, the Turkish Rixos Hotels, which was to become the operator of a new hotel in Kazan, will likely remain 'overboard'. While the developers are referring to the absence of an official confirmation, and the Centre for tourism development assures that Rixos will be in the building of Shamoskaya hospital, in the Turkish media there are alarming reports that the hotel chain is gradually breaking ties with Polimeks group, serving as an investor of the reconstruction of Shamovskaya hospital.

'The works at the facility are being done 'bit by bit' because 'they are not given money'

A visit to the construction site at the Shamovskaya hospital gave us a false impression: a tower crane stayed motionless, no noise of construction machinery or curses of the builders — only silence and a helmet hanging lonely. It would seem that the works were suspended, but our doubts were dispelled by a guard at a guard desk.

The man explained that just 20 minutes before our arrival the foreman and the building workers had gone to the office or to lunch. Our interlocutor also added that there was a possibility that they would not return to the construction site that day because the works at the facility were being done 'bit by bit', and the reason for such 'slowdown' may be that 'they are not given money'.

The information about the lack of funds was denied by the deputy director of Polystroy Capitol PLC (the company belongs to the Turkish construction group Polimeks and deals with the restoration of the Shamovskaya hospital) Bulat Khairullin. According to him, they have enough funds and there are no difficulties due to political or other reasons. By the way, the required investment amount is still the same and is about $30-40 million. About the 'slowdown of the construction Khairullin said briefly: 'We do everything, there are just some nuances.'

At the construction site of the Shamovskaya hospital a tower crane was staying motionless, no noise of construction machinery or curses of the builders. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

A new design project of the hotel slows down the reconstruction works?

A foreman of the facility Said Suliev turned out to be more talkative. He said that, compared to the spring, the pace of works has really been slowed down, however, immediately noted: 'It is due to financing. Our work is done by stages, it is impossible to do everything at once because it is a complex object.' As it turned out, the main 'retarding force' lies in the design project of interior decoration of the Shamovskaya hospital. Bulat Khairullin told us that now this document is being under consideration, but it is not clear when exactly 'green light' will be given.

'Operatorship' of Rixos is called into question?

There are several controversies at the stage of the project realization, the most important of which is that an 'operatorship' of Rixos in the former Shamovsky hospital has been called into question — this was told by the deputy director of Polystroy Capitol Bulat Khairullin. Our interlocutor carefully referred to the fact that the official operator has not yet been determined yet and the negotiations are underway.

'I hear about it for the first time because I consult them and have consulted earlier. We talked to the Turkish side, at that moment everything was ok — it was two months ago. It was they, no alterations at all. According to the latest information, it will be Rixos, and we held negotiations with them and helped them in consultations on our market. Perhaps, Polystroy Capitol does not want to comment on this issue because the object is complex,' comments on the words of Khairullin the director of the Center for tourism development Oksana Sargina.

However, apparently, the problem is not the cautiousness of Khairullin. As Turkish specialized media reported, this September-October, the Polimex Group and Rixos cut off the contract on the project in Eskişehir (the parties have cooperated since April 2014 on this hotel). In the end, Polimex created its own hotel brand Tasigo Hotels & Resorts.

The representative of the Polimex group Erol Tabanca stated that the parties by mutual consent decided to terminate the cooperation: 'We sat down and had a talk. We came to the conclusion that this decision will be a good thing for both sides.' It is noted that the cooperation with Rixos on another hotel of the group in Istanbul (Elmadağ) called Ofton İnşaat was terminated at the end of last year. Then the relationship on the hotel in Ankara (Kizilay) called Bulvar otel was terminated. Apparently, the 'operatorship' of Rixos at the building of Shamovskaya hospital is really hanging in the balance.

A comment from Rixos at the time of publication was not obtained.

Also, Bulat Khairullin has questioned the statement of the head of the State Committee for Tourism Sergey Ivanov that the hotel will be launched in the summer of 2017: 'The completion is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018. Maybe, for the fourth quarter of 2017 — depending on the situation. It is unknown yet.' Oksana Sargina reported that at the last meeting they discussed the launch in 2017.

Erol Tabanca stated that Polimex and Rixos decided to end the partnership by mutual consent.

As for a 'filling' of the hotel, it is still 'up in the air'. Bulat Khairullin said that the parameters of the hotel are not determined yet, and there are only preliminary figures: 'It will be a spa hotel with about 68 rooms, but it's all still in the process — maybe more, maybe less. It depends on a design project.' According to Oksana Sargina, it is too early to talk about a number of stars of the hotel because the object is not ready yet.

A Ukrainian billionaire of Tatar origin owns Rixos in Ukraine

Rixos Hotels operates in 11 countries: Turkey, Switzerland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Croatia, the UAE, Egypt, Libya and Ukraine. To a greater extent, it is focused on the resort cities: there are hotels in Antalya, Istanbul, in cities of the United Arab Emirates, and Sharm El Sheikh. The Russian hotel is located in Sochi, there is also a Rixos-Prykarpattya in Ukraine. According to the head of the center for tourism development, there is nothing strange in the fact that 'resort' Rixos is entering Kazan: 'Sometimes the orientation of the brand changes, expands and the target audience changes.'

Interestingly, the owner of the Ukrainian branch (the five-star diagnostic treatment and rehabilitation resort complex Rixos-Prykarpattya) is a Ukrainian billionaire of Tatar origin Rinat Akhmetov. This is evidenced by various sources (including Forbes Ukraine). In addition, it also referred to the names of Fettah Tamince, Igor Humenyuk, Vasily Mikulin and Irina Fridman (the APC company). Also, in 2014, the Ukrainian media reported that the Turkish hotel chain was planning to open Rixos Mriya Yalta 5*. The fact that the hotel would be located on the Crimean Peninsula caused a special outrage.

Hard times are in the past?

The reconstruction project of the Shamovskaya hospital has been on the verge of failure several times. It all started with the fact that in 2012 the Malaysia's Aliran Adaman company planned to change the Shamovskaya hospital into a five-star hotel until the end of 2014. It was symbolic for Tatarstan Investment Development Agency, however, in 2013, after a year from the date of sale, the right to possession of the historic building returned from Malays to Tatarstan. According to one of the versions, the reason was the inaction of the Malaysian side. Rumours had it that the investor simply did not assess how much investment would be needed for the conversion with preservation of the architectural appearance and decided to sell the building.

The project for construction of a Rixos hotel in the building of the Shamovskaya hospital was approved in July 2015. Photo: prav.tatar.ru

In December 2014, on the horizon there appeared an investor from Turkey, who presented his vision of the reconstruction of the former Shamovsky hospital to a Rixos hotel, where will be a conference hall, a spa complex, restaurants and shops. According to the Turkish plan, Rixos itself will be the operator of the future hotel, the investor will be the Polimeks group, Polystroy Capitol (belonging to Polimeks company) will be engaged in the restoration of the Shamovsky hospital in Kazan.

Then the Russian-Turkish crisis followed, and as a result — a decree of Vladimir Putin, imposing sanctions against Turkish companies and citizens. This period frayed nerves of Tatarstan and Turkish investors. However, the Russian government lifted sanctions against Polystroy Capitol company along with other important investment projects.

At the end of January 2016, the deputy regional director of the regional branch of Polystroy Capitol Cüneyt Ünal told Realnoe Vremya that the contractor is planning to complete the reconstruction of the building of the Shamovskaya hospital in the second quarter of 2017. However, according to him, due to the fall of the ruble 'we will have to make more efforts and invest more money.'

By Lina Sarimova, Arslan Minvaleyev