St. Pete Site Counts on Neighbor

For MTApartments in the Platinum complex sell for $30,000 per square meter.
ST. PETERSBURG -- As downtown grows increasingly crowded, some developers are looking to build somewhat farther afield -- with the knowledge that the city will eventually catch up.

Managers of the Kvartira.Ru investment corporation expect a business-class residential complex on Sverdlovskaya Naberezhnaya to benefit from the future development of the nearby territory, which is set to include the future Okhta Center skyscraper that will house Gazprom's headquarters.

"Considering what is being constructed in this area, in just a few years we will be able to advertise this complex as being located at the center of business activity in the city," Pavel Kanalin, general manager of Kvartira.Ru, said last week at a news conference.

The complex, named Platinum, will consist of 12 sections, including about 600 apartments and two penthouses. Of a total area of 75,000 square meters, apartments will occupy 51,000 square meters, varying in size from 40 to 236 square meters.

Shops and offices on the first and second floors will occupy 10,000 square meters, while underground parking space is planned for about 300 cars.

The high-tech building will be faced with natural stone, ceramic-granite plates, facing bricks and glass. It will be 13 stories high, with a central tower reaching a height of 17 stories.

Kvartira.Ru acquired the project when it was already under way in February 2007, from its initial developer, Nevsky Sindikat. Kvartira.Ru will cover liabilities to 26 buyers who paid Nevsky Sindikat for apartments in the complex.

The total cost of the project will exceed $120 million, because of expensive engineering works and the need to buy out property in three buildings that are being demolished.

"Demand for elite housing accounts for about 13 percent of the total demand for housing in the city," said Igor Luchkov, head of the assessment and analysis department at Becar Commercial Property SPb.

"The advantages of Platinum are its panoramic view of Smolny Cathedral and the historic center of the city, and its location in a developing part of the Krasnogvardeisky district," Luchkov said.

Prices for apartments in similar residential complexes vary from $3,500 to $6,000 per square meter, Luchkov said. He forecast a 30 percent increase in prices by the end of 2008.

Luchkov said the inclusion of commercial areas on the ground floor was a rational solution for a large-scale project.

"A-class tenants would not be interested, but developing medium-size Russian companies looking for a modern building combining a prestigious location with moderate rents are most likely to be based in this building," Luchkov said.

Platinum will be located close to an elite building being built by RBI and the Polyustrovo business center, as well as the future Okhta Center. A new tunnel is planned underneath the Neva River to ease traffic flows to and from the area.

Sales of property in the Platinum complex began in December, and, so far, apartments have been sold for an average of $3,000 per square meter.