MOSCOW, March 29 (R-Sport) – Zenit St. Petersburg’s long-delayed football stadium will cost about $1.1 billion, slightly less than previous estimates, the city’s construction committee said Friday.
The latest number is a speck of good news for the much-maligned project, which has been plagued by a spate of expensive construction mishaps and legal imbroglios since it broke ground in 2006.
Earlier this month, building estimates skyrocketed to around $1.3 billion, nearly three times the initial projected cost.
A city spokesperson confirmed the latest estimate to R-Sport on Friday, though it hasn’t yet been submitted to federal auditors.
There was no explanation for the revised figure.
In January, Russia's Audit Chamber uncovered several violations at the stadium site, including the absence of a building permit for work performed from 2006 to 2008. Moreover, 63,000 seats, which cost $9.4 million, according to the Audit Chamber, were deemed unfit for use at the 69,000-seat stadium.
The infractions prompted Russian prosecutors to launch a fraud investigation in February into whether the soaring building costs at the World Cup 2018 semifinal site were a result of theft.
In the weeks since, problems have continued to pile up. Earlier this month, a builder was killed after being struck by an errant piece of metal. Then, a few days later, prosecutors filed 15 charges against a company that employed illegal immigrants at the Krestovsky Island stadium site.
Russia’s World Cup organizing committee chief Alexei Sorokin has said Zenit’s stadium should be open by 2014.