A Russian property developer got a go ahead to commence building a 650-million-franc mountain resort following Switzerland's highest court ending its five years of opposition to the project.
"We haven't won yet, we will have when the first tourists arrive" in 2016, Vladimir Marakutsa, director of Aminona Luxury Resort and Village (ALRV), told reporters on Tuesday.
AdvertisementSwitzerland's federal court rejected an appeal last week by environmentalists to the first part of the project, a 300-bedroom hotel complex divided into 15 furnished chalets in Aminona, Valais, a canton popular with skiers in the south of the country.
Work is due to begin later this year after contracts were signed with landowners, ALRV's Swiss lawyer indicated.
The development, "Le Village Royal", has been criticised by environmentalists who say it will disfigure the mountains.
Marakutsa shrugged off detractors, saying that Swiss architects had been employed and that the result would be sympathetic to its surroundings.
"I feel like a Valaisan," added Marakutsa, who has lived in Switzerland since 2009 and spoke through an interpreter.
In addition to the hotel, the development includes four other elements, although these have not been given the go-ahead yet.
Marakutsa said he was optimistic that the whole 541-million-euro/$652 million dollar project would be completed, with eight 14-storey towers, 45 luxury chalets offering special facilities for storing clients' furs and butlers' bedrooms, a second hotel, a summer lake and winter ice rink.
Funding is being provided by Russian and other foreign investors, said Marakutsa, who added that an investment fund in Luxembourg is underwriting the deal.
One of the investors is Serguei Polonsky, of Russian property company Mirax, now Potok, which he continues to run.
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