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Land of uncertain purpose

 

Agricultural and industrial land represents  a vast resource for housing construction, yet the process of redesignating a land`s status is slow and difficult. 

 Housing accommodation  in St. Petersburg occupies a total territory of about 13 thousand hectares, of which 7,5 thousand hectares are occupied by multi-storey buildings. It is estimated by Surveyor International Group, that the land bank owned by landlords and tenant builders, amounts to about 6 thousand hectares. For comparison, in 2010 it had about 7 thousand hectares, thus critical shortage is not thought to be n the foreseeable future.

As Head of the Analytical Centre Glavstroy-SPb JSC Petr Buslov notes, that lands beneficially owned or lands on a long lease in a land bank of construction companies, could be used to build about 12 mln sq.m. This concerns plots of land supported by documentatoin, references in the media and other confirmations.

Arsen Kelemenyan, CEO of Surveyor International Group notes that land resources remained owing to the high building density which had taken place in recent years. So with a significant rate of housing construction, withdrawal of land reserves was not that intense.

Unoccupied territories

As for unoccupied land area fit for housing construction according to a general plan, Rusland SP Group, considers, it is no greater than 0,8 thousand hectares all over the city. As to the main land that could, in theory, be used with a view to constructing they are either sites of industry or agricultural land. 

Аccording to Arsen Kelemenyan, the area of land  used for industrial applications has decreased by 15% over the last 4 years. This does not mean that enterprises have gone into liquidation making way to business centres and residence buildings — it was only the land status that had changed. Most of these territories remained unoccupied thus, it does not make sense to speak of the new conversions.

"When adjusting the general plan the majority of proposals requesting the conversion of industrial territories into residential construction  sites unfortunately remains unaddressed; only a few major projects had even preliminary approval" — comments Albina Yamaletdinova, a partner of Rusland SP Group. Many projects have been waiting for a decision for 2-3 years already. Therewith, the general plan provides development of public and business functions with the elements of residential function in place of industrial zones, in other words residence buildings could occupy no more than a half of a land plot, and that causes project appeal decrease.

The advantage of industrial lands is that they are often located in habitable areas, connected with utility infrastructure. At the same time their environment is industrial and depressive as well. Therefore, not only enterprise removal and reclaiming are necessary, but the creation of an environment suitable for living.

Houses instead of potatoes

As of January 1, 2014 the area of agricultural land  amounted to 29 thousand hectares, or 20,7% of the city's land fund. Generally according to Albina Yamaletdinova, it concerns peripheral territories requiring development of utility, transport and social infrastructure. The prospects of the use of agricultural land  for housing construction can already be seen by  number of the implemented and planned construction projects  already in existence. This generally involves southern districts including Pushkinsky district as a leader. But also the land near Kamenka is planned to be converted to residential function. The area of urban land that could be used for residential construction, is rather great, however amendment of land use development documents and zoning documents of St. Petersburg is required in most cases. But this is by no means easy to accomplish at present. 

 

Maria Mokeicheva - maria.mokeycheva@dp.ru

"Delovoi Peterburg", № 154, 23/09/2014, p. 25 (05) 

Short address for the article:  http://www.dp.ru/103g33/