Lakhta Center is a multifunctional complex in St. Petersburg with the Gazprom headquarter and public spaces occupying a third of the area. Construction was completed in October 2018, now start work on the arrangement of business and public areas. The opening will take place in about a year, when the complex will be fully prepared to meet guests.
The creation of high quality business environment is to be included in the strategy of the city development
Vkrizis.ru, Yekaterina Stepanova
At the moment the development of approx. 20% of urban areas can be called inefficient according to Project Director of the Directorate of Real Estate Property of Okhta Group Company Mikhail Bimon. Above all, the project of office property suffers from an imperfect legislation. According to experts such projects require a close and fruitful cooperation between business and authorities and this cooperation is significantly impeded by unclear rules of a game and cooperation procedure.
The future public and business center Lakhta Center was called one of the large cores of the development of office property in Petersburg by the participants of the discussion. According to Professor of Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University, at the moment in Petersburg there are practically no large points of business activity concentration. There are only prestigious and uncomfortable offices in the center and less popular small islands on the outskirts. It was forgotten in the course of a heated discussion on Okhta Center. “The discussion mainly covered the height”, said Professor. The expert supported the relocation of the construction in Lakhta because it will help reduce the loads on the center of the city which is congested because of multiple functions.
According to Nikolay Vatin, Lakhta Center will be an island of business activity among residential buildings. Nevertheless the expert is convinced that such centers could be a draw point for outside foreign investors as well. “Now we have drawn Gazprom to the city and we can draw the offices of large international corporations as well if they see available business environment”, Vatin pointed out that the creation of such business environment is to be included in the future strategy of the city development.
The host of the roundtable meeting, Head of Real Estate Economics and Management of the Engineering and Economic University Sergey Maksimov also pointed out an important role of the future public and business complex for Petersburg and was skeptical about the main arguments of the opponents of the construction. “The negative attitude is likely to be connected to the atmosphere existing around the project. In fact the issue of how it will spoil a spatial view is controversial, the expert says. La Defense in Paris is located approximately at the same distance from the center of the city and well seen from the square near the King’s Palace. And the quantity of business property to be commissioned would be beneficial”. According to Sergey Maksimov in Petersburg there is a serious deficit of venues to hold international events and Lakhta Center which office areas are comparable to the area of office in the whole city could drastically change the situation becoming a venue for cooperation at least at the level of the Baltic region.
By giving the comments after the roundtable discussion the specialists said that the earnest of success of the public and business complex Lakhta Center rests with the solution of transport problems in Primorsky district. After Lakhta Center is built, the residential areas will also be developed which make this area more expensive but increase the congestion. “There are examples of large complexes which are not popular because because it is difficult to get there”, Mikhail Bimon said by pointing out the importance of a comprehensive development of Lakhta including the optimization and extension of transport infrastructure. It is known that at this stage of the development of Lakhta Center project much emphasis is placed on the transport issue.
Speaking about scattered centers of business activity in Petersburg, the experts point out that at the beginning the new public and business complex will be only an island of the business development. Nevertheless there are prerequisites that this island will be concentrated around other perspective development projects which will contribute both to the formation of a new office cluster in Primorsky district and the improvement of the standards of the construction of high-quality office property in Petersburg.