In an exclusive interview, billionaire Russian investor Andrei Bolkonsky confirmed that he would partner with Colorado Springs attorney/hotelier/developer Perry Sanders and Trump family interests to build a “huge” skyscraper in downtown Colorado Springs.
Lean, pensive and aristocratic, Bolhonsky defies the stereotypes associated with Russian oligarchs. Yet his ambitions may be larger than any of them.
“I’ve always enjoyed Colorado Springs,” he said. “I went to Fountain Valley School in the 1980s. I was the only Russian, and I felt very alone, until I met a girl skiing one weekend at Aspen. She was so alive, so beautiful — I was in love, but she jilted me. Natasha…where are you today, I wonder?”
Located on approximately four square blocks in southwest downtown, the Bolhonsky/Sanders/Trump building will soar 170 stories into the air, with a gross floor area of approximately 3.4 million square feet. It will be primarily residential, with approximately 800 apartments and 300-400 hotel rooms. More than 50 high-speed elevators will escort residents to their lofty aeries after parking their cars in an adjacent temperature-controlled structure.
The building’s total height will be about 3,000 feet, well above the 2,717 feet of the Burj Khalifa, now the world’s tallest building. Its estimated cost: more than $2 billion.
The building will also house the Trump Presidential Library, which will occupy four complete floors in the upper third of the building.
“It will be very different from other presidential libraries,” said Bolkonsky. “It will be paperless and 100 percent accessible online. It’ll be an exclusive club, a Mar-a-Lago in the sky, with a modest initiation fee of $200,000 or so. I spoke at length with the president, and he loves the concept.”
Both during and after construction, the local economic impact of the building will be significant.
“We estimate that there will be 14,000 workers on the job during peak construction time,” said Bolkonsky, “and thousands of full-time jobs after we finish. The building will utterly transform the city — you’ll be a world capital, not a poky little city beneath a mountain.”
Bolkonsky’s career has been as amazing and unexpected as the building he plans to erect. Born in the United States, he is a direct descendant of the renowned Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, a hero of the 1812 Battle of Borodino. After Fountain Valley, he took a gap year, went to Russia, became a dual citizen and made a fortune in potash, aluminum and tungsten. He has never married.
“I’ve known war and I’ve known peace,” he said, “but I’ve never found love.”
We were sitting in a lakeside restaurant concluding the interview, when suddenly Bolkonsky’s eyes widened in disbelief.
“That’s her,” he whispered. “That’s Natasha.”
The tall, dark-haired woman glanced toward us and stopped. She smiled tentatively and approached the table. We stood.
“Is it you, Andrei?” she asked, ignoring the rest of us.
“Natasha Rostova,” he said, barely able to speak.
“Now I call myself Hannah,” she said. “I work for the city. Come — we have wasted so many years.”
He nodded, his eyes brimming with tears. She extended her hand, and they walked away, as if in a trance.
“How amazing was that?” said Perry Sanders, who had been uncharacteristically silent through the interview. “It was like a Russian novel, but with a happy ending. And speaking of happy endings, in four years we’re cutting the ribbon on the world’s tallest building. Mark it on your calendar: April 1, 2021!