- Construction of a seven-storey hotel in Maly Kozikhinsky Lane
- Construction on Bolshaya Yakimanka
- Construction of a highway in the Khimki forest
- Residential complex “Kutuzovskaya Milya” on Davydkovskaya Street
- Construction on Borodinskoe Pole
- Unrealized project “Okhta Center” in St. Petersburg
- Landscape alley in Kiev
In urban planning, situations when the interests of developers, local residents, environmentalists, architectural and historical heritage come into conflict are not uncommon. The desire to build a new apartment complex on the site of a 19th century mansion or a playground rarely meets with the approval of the townspeople, but most often such conflicts do not cause much resonance, and the indignation of activists of public organizations and local residents does not find understanding from the city hall.
It is the capital construction projects that often become scandalously famous, which is quite understandable – the attention of both the authorities and the press to objects located in the historical districts of Moscow and St. Petersburg attracts much more.
The list of the most scandalous construction projects, which were repeatedly discussed in the media last year, can rightfully include the following objects:
Construction of a seven-storey hotel in Maly Kozikhinsky Lane
This conflict, which united local residents and defenders of the historical appearance of Moscow, began in October 2010, when Studio TriTe LLC, owned by Nikita Mikhalkov, began to demolish two buildings built in the early 20th century, planning to erect a 7-storey hotel in their place. underground, two-level parking.
Maly Kozikhinsky Lane is located near the Patriarch’s Ponds on Presnya between Trekhprudny Lane and Malaya Bronnaya Street, in the historic center of the capital, so the excitement of residents and activists of various public organizations is understandable – how much the modern hotel building will change the look of this cozy street is difficult to predict. In addition, the construction of an underground parking can violate the integrity of neighboring buildings – former apartment buildings built in 1903, 1907 and 1914 are located in Maly Kozikhinsky Lane..
The first conflict between local residents, which was joined by activists of the public organization “In Defense of Moscow”, took place on October 22, 2010, when the protesters blocked the entrance to the construction site and suspended construction. Over the next months, the scandal either gained momentum or died down, despite all the statements of the residents of Maly Kozikhinsky Lane, numerous rallies and actions, appeals to Sergei Baydakov, the prefect of the central district, to the press, to the Presnensky court, the metropolitan prosecutor’s office, to Sergei Sobyanin, To the mayor of Moscow and personally to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, construction continues to this day and is already at the stage of erecting a reinforced concrete monolithic frame.
The mayor’s office of the capital has repeatedly stated that the demolished buildings were not monuments of history and architecture, and the construction is being carried out on a legal basis.
Not so long ago, in February 2012, information appeared in many media outlets that the City Planning and Land Commission of Moscow allowed the developer LLC MN-Nedvizhimost to build a hotel in Maly Kozikhinsky Lane and a nine-story hotel complex on Tverskaya Street. According to representatives of the mayor’s office, this construction received such a wide resonance largely due to the participation in the conflict of such famous personalities as Nikita Mikhalkov and actress Tatyana Dogileva.
The only thing that the residents of the lane achieved – the Construction Research Institute recommended the developer to take additional safety measures, in particular, to take emergency measures, which are designed to ensure the safety of nearby buildings. In the near future, as it became known to the residents of Maly Kozikhinsky Lane, seven more demolitions and buildings are planned here, so that the appearance of the street may change beyond recognition.
Construction on Bolshaya Yakimanka
Bolshaya Yakimanka is one of the most interesting streets of Moscow, teeming with historical buildings, among the buildings of Yakimanka is the Church of the Martyr John the Warrior, built in 1717, as well as other architectural attractions. It was here that at the end of April 2011 the Capital Group company demolished the pre-revolutionary apartment building, built by the famous architect Fyodor Kolbe in 1899-1901.
It was originally planned that the developer will preserve the historical facade of the building so as not to disrupt the ensemble of the Moscow street, but the company deliberately provoked the collapse of the walls, which were not properly secured..
The demolition of the historic building, on the site of which Capital Group intended to build an administrative complex with underground parking, caused a great resonance and outrage among architects, organizations for the protection of historical monuments of Belokamennaya and the general public.
As a result, the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobyanin, ordered to suspend for 30 days all, without exception, work on the demolition of buildings located in the historical center, as well as to immediately check the legality of the original permits available to developers who are implementing their projects within the Garden Ring.
The projects for which permits have been obtained will be subject to a thorough revision and special, close attention of the authorities, but the construction has not yet begun. Alexander Kibovsky, head of the department of cultural heritage in Moscow, promised that all officials who issued permits for construction work on historical sites, thereby violating the law, will be held accountable.
The mayor also said that the developer will be forced to restore the Kolbe house to its original form..
Construction of a highway in the Khimki forest
Khimki Forest is a forest park with a total area of over 1,000 hectares, located between the city of Khimki, the Klyazma River, the village of Starbeevo and the International Highway. According to the decision of the government of the Moscow region of November 5, 2009, over 144 hectares of forest were removed from the forest fund and attached to the lands of industry and transport for the subsequent laying through the Khimki forest of a section of a paid highway, which should connect Moscow and St. Petersburg.
By the way, the decision to build a toll road was made back in 2004, several options were proposed, but they all involve cutting down a part of the forest belt, which is the main “lungs” surrounded by industrial zones of Khimki and the north of the capital.
Residents of the city of Khimki organized the “Movement in Defense of the Khimki Forest”, many public and socio-political organizations joined them.
The confrontation took on an especially acute character due to the actions of the authorities of the Moscow region and the Khimki mayor’s office – the police forces were pulled to the place of the environmental camp, the protesters were detained and even beaten more than once. In particular, ecologist Konstantin Fetisov was hospitalized with beatings, and Mikhail Beketov, editor-in-chief of the Khimkinskaya Pravda newspaper, was assassinated – both of them were active opponents of the construction of a highway through the forest park.
As a result of the actions of the activists, the original plan, which involved cutting down a strip three kilometers wide, was changed – the authorities reduced the area of cutting trees to 100 meters. The defenders of the forest were not satisfied with this decision, the performances continued, 40 environmental organizations and many famous cultural and political figures joined them..
In August 2010, by decision of President Dmitry Medvedev, the construction of the highway was suspended, but no other options for the construction of the highway appeared. The only concession that the defenders of the Khimki forest managed to achieve was the allocation of 4 billion rubles for planting new trees, and the felling area was reduced by 1.5 times. In addition, the authorities have banned the construction of gas stations, shops and roadside cafes on the territory of the forest belt..
Residential complex “Kutuzovskaya Milya” on Davydkovskaya Street
In 2005, the implementation of the project for the construction of a new residential complex classified as a business class, Kutuzovskaya Milya, began, but four years later the construction was frozen, today only half of the planned volume of buildings has been erected on an area of about 600 thousand square meters.
Unlike previous scandalous construction projects, in this case the conflict broke out not because of the demolition of historical buildings or green areas, but a dispute between the subsidiaries of the owner of the investment contract – the Federal Center for Social Development, and the structural divisions of Mirax Group, in particular – Avanta LLC.
The conflict received a resonance after the appeal of defrauded equity holders who bought apartments in the unfinished residential complex Kutuzovskaya Milya from Avanta to the Investigative Committee, the presidential administration and the prosecutor’s office of the Western Administrative District. According to the defrauded equity holders, the Mirax Group division withdrew funds intended for construction to the accounts of third-party companies, so about 3.5 billion rubles simply did not reach their destination.
In addition, there was an attempted raider seizure of construction, as well as an attack on Pyotr Ivanov, the FTSSR General Director and his deputy. Sergei Polonsky, head of Mirax Group in September 2011, in turn went on a hunger strike, protesting against such “lawlessness”.
The Moscow authorities were forced to intervene in the conflict, as a result of which it was decided that the residential complex “Kutuzovskaya Milya” would be completed in accordance with the project, but without the participation of Mirax Group.
Construction on Borodinskoe Pole
The famous Battle of Borodino was a turning point in the Patriotic War of 1812, an event known to all schoolchildren and perfectly described in the novel War and Peace. The battle site – Borodino field – is part of the Borodino military-historical reserve, back in 1995 the reserve was included in the list of cultural and historical heritage sites of federal importance, on its territory only work can be carried out to preserve historical monuments.
However, during 2009-2010, Maya Sklyueva, who served as the head of the rural settlement of Borodino, entered into an agreement with her relatives and illegally allocated about 50 hectares of the reserve’s land for dacha construction. Thus, without proper agreement with the authorities, agricultural lands were transferred for cottage construction, the cost of one site was estimated at 2.3 million rubles.
At the end of 2010, Rosokhrankultura reported violations to the government of the Moscow region, Boris Gromov, the governor of the Moscow region, promised that the illegal development of the Borodino field with private buildings would be stopped, but the construction of private cottages continued.
After intervention in the situation in May 2011 by Sergei Ivanov, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, a criminal case was opened against Sklyueva and her accomplices on the fact of committing fraud with the use of her official position on an especially large scale.
Ivanov promised that illegal construction will be stopped, even if it is necessary to use the forces of law enforcement.
It was also reported that the federal center intends to buy more than 1.2 thousand hectares of land included in the museum-reserve from private individuals in order to protect these sites from development..
Unrealized project “Okhta Center” in St. Petersburg
There are scandalous construction projects in other large cities. In particular, a big resonance in St. Petersburg was caused by the decision of Gazprom to build a skyscraper about 403 meters high on Cape Okhtinsky..
The project was named “Okhta Center” and immediately aroused the discontent of Petersburgers who did not want to see a building in the historical center of the capital, which Boris Grebenshchikov called “the devil’s spit” in the city’s appearance.
The competition for the best project for the construction of the Gazprom tower was held back in 2006; in 2007, a presentation of the project by British architects and large-scale advertising support for the Okhta Center in the media and on television took place. In 2009, rallies against the construction were held in the northern capital, however, despite this, in December of the same year, excavation began for the foundation of the future high-rise..
Archaeologists noted that on the territory of Okhta Cape there are objects of great interest for the study of pre-Petrine history, it is necessary to carry out excavations and this place cannot be allocated for construction..
The opinion of archaeologists and historians was supported by UNESCO, whose representatives also spoke out against the construction of the Okhta Center tower in the historic district of the city.
As a result of numerous protests and disputes, it was decided to stop construction, the complex of buildings will be erected on Lakhtinsky Prospekt, and the Okhtinsky Cape, by the decision of the KGIOP of March 5, 2012, was included in the list of sights of St. Petersburg. According to Mikhail Milchik, Deputy Chairman of the City Council for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, this is only the first step; the authorities need to establish a regime for the use of the Okhtinsky Cape and the boundaries of the discovered archaeological sites.
Landscape alley in Kiev
To date, the loudest urban planning scandal in the Ukrainian capital is the development of the Landscape Alley, famous for its uniquely decorated playground, original benches and statues of the Little Prince and the Cat. This beautiful place is included in the list of sights of Kiev, has become a favorite place for walks of citizens, tourists often come here.
Back in 2004, the Kievskaya Rada, headed at that time by ex-mayor Alexander Omelchenko, decided to transfer the site on the Landscape Alley to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which intends to build a high-rise building here for diplomats, with a swimming pool on the roof. Under the mayor of Chernovetsk, the land plot was transferred by the deputies of the Kiev City Council to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not so long ago the Kiev court confirmed that all rights to this territory belong to the Ministry.
Thus, despite the massive protests of the Kievites, which were joined by Ukrainian pop stars, who intend to hold a concert on the Landscape Alley in support of a unique corner of the city, the statements of UNESCO representatives that demolishing sculptures and a playground is a real crime, diplomats can still get their twelve-story house.
However, Konstantin Grishchenko, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, stressed that the construction will not affect the most famous and beautiful section of the Landscape – a playground, and apartments in the new house will be allocated free of charge to veterans of the diplomatic service, many of whom worked in Afghanistan and are now without their own homes. In addition, the building is planned to accommodate premises intended for the Lavra’s Gold Museum, as well as the book depositories of the Museum of the History of Ukraine.
Kievans do not believe the assurances of the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noting that such a tidbit of the capital’s land attracts investors precisely by the opportunity to then sell apartments in an elite house at the highest possible price.
According to experts, in particular, Alexander Ziminsky, director of the department for sales of elite real estate at Penny Lane Realty, the existing urban planning laws in Ukraine and Russia are so complex and confusing that situations when a developer starts construction without any permits and collecting papers already “along the way” of construction is far from uncommon.
At the same time, arbitration courts on controversial investment projects and illegal construction last for years, and the lands of the forest fund are given over for private development, often with complete impunity. Only new, not contradicting each other, really operating laws will be able to change the situation, otherwise the rules of the wild market of the “dashing” 90s that have long since sunk into oblivion in other areas will remain the main law in urban planning..