What do you do with a mountain resort with Games gone?

Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:02am EST
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By David Ljunggren and Olga Petrova

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Stanislav Kuznetsov has a headache like no other: it measures 780,000 square meters and covers a large expanse of Russian mountainside.

The Gorky Gorod resort in the snowy Caucasus peaks above Sochi was packed during the Winter Olympics. Now the Games are ending, Kuznetsov's job is to keep filling the nine hotels.

And the holiday apartment. And the luxury stores. And the large supermarket complex, which includes a massive artificial beach and lake on the top floor.

"We are seriously thinking about the future," said Kuznetsov, deputy chairman of the board at Russian state lender Sberbank, which owns 92 percent of Gorky Gorod.

His challenge epitomizes the broader struggle that Russia faces to get a lasting return on an estimated $50 billion spent on developing the region for the Sochi Games.

Kuznetsov appeared upbeat when he spoke to Reuters text and television in an interview on Friday, two days after hosting a major brainstorming session on what to do next with a complex than can accommodate up to 6,000 people.

He talks of a bright future in both winter and summer, offering access to the mountains and the Black Sea coast.

But in an earlier more informal conversation he had been franker about Gorky Gorod, which translates as Gorky Town.   Continued...

An aerial view from a helicopter shows hotels and residential houses recently constructed for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Adler district of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, December 23, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov