Havana, Mar 4 (EFE).- Work began this week at the site that was once home to one of this capital’s most-storied nightclubs, transformed after the Cuban Revolution into a restaurant paying homage to the new government’s Soviet benefactors.
In the 1940s and ’50s, Cabaret Montmartre was a haunt for visiting celebrities such as Edith Piaf, Lola Flores, and honeymooners Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner.
Following the coming to power of Fidel Castro, the cabaret was reborn as Restaurante Moscu, an establishment that offered Russian cuisine and elegant Tsarist-era decor.
In 1989, the Moscu was devastated by a fire and the downtown Havana site remained moribund until this week, when crews arrived to begin the process of demolishing the burned-out shell in preparation for a building a 450-room hotel.
Using earth-movers, dump trucks, cranes and other heavy equipment, the team will take five months to complete the demolition, the project’s main investor, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, told the official ACN news agency.
The hotel is to be operated jointly by state-owned Gran Caribe, which already runs four- and five-star properties, and Spanish chain Be Live, a subsidiary of Globalia. EFE rmo/dr