The Moscow city government may turn prisons to offices and hotels after penitentiaries move outside the capital to decongest the territory deficit, Moscow News daily reported on Tuesday referring to a research institute from the Russian Audit Chamber.
"It is necessary to move pre-trial detention centers outside the city because the land deficit in Moscow is enormous. There is a lack of offices and parking lots," sociologist Sergei Belanovsky told the paper, adding that new places for prisons should be easy to find.
"There is a similar practice (of moving prisons outside city) abroad. For example, a hotel which became rather popular was opened in Helsinki in place of a prison," architect Alexander Asadov said.
Russia's Federal Service for Execution of Punishment declined to comment on the information.
Though the decision has not been made yet, Russia's Penny Lane Realty real estate operator has worked out a rating of the most liquid penitentiaries, which occupy about 148,000 square meters in the capital, under criteria of the potential rate of return after the buildings' upgrade.
The Butyrskaya prison located in Moscow's central district is the sweetest spot for realtors according to the rating.
"The Butyrskaya (prison) could attract huge tourist flows taking into account its centuries-old history, this is why this pre-trial detention center may be reequipped as a hotel, exhibition and cultural centers, or talent boutiques," Maxim Zhulikov, director for development in office property department of Penny Lane Realty, told the paper.
Realtors put the Matrosskaya Tishina prison located in the city's northeast in second place, while the Lefortovo prison in Moscow's east was in third place.
City ethnographer Alexei Dedushkin considers that the three prisons should be used as museums because office personnel and tourists were unlikely to feel and work comfortably in former prison cells.