$50M Complex to Bring Elite Housing to Center

For MTChistiye Prudy will be only the third elite residential complex in Moscow.
Work on the $50 million Chistiye Prudy project, consisting of upmarket residential buildings occupying an entire block in the city center, is set to begin.

The 22,000-square-meter project, described by its developers as Moscow's first "elite quarter," will be located at the intersection of Podsosensky Pereulok and Barashevsky Pereulok, halfway between the Chistiye Prudy metro station and the Garden Ring. It will occupy 0.6 hectares and feature a seven-story building with 12 apartments, a four-story building with 12 apartments, two mansions -- 882 and 1,800 square meters in size, respectively -- and four 887-square-meter single-residence houses.

Chistiye Prudy's developer is the privately held firm Yevropeiskoye Ekologicheskoye Soobshchestvo, or European Ecological Association, which has renovated several historic buildings in downtown Moscow since its foundation in 1992. The project is partially financed by Impexbank.

Despite its large size and developed infrastructure, including multilevel underground parking and top-notch security systems and engineering, the project is meant for no more than 30 families.

The first three buildings -- including the two mansions, which were designed with a residence or a company's representative office in mind -- are expected to be completed this year, with the remainder of the project scheduled for completion in late 2006.

"A complex-based approach to elite housing construction is a reflection of a new tendency of planned development in this market segment," said Konstantin Kovalyov, managing partner at the realtor Blackwood, which was chosen as the consultant and exclusive agent for the project. "The old tradition of building socially uniform housing districts is starting to revive. In the next two to three years, this quarter has the potential to become Moscow's most prestigious and expensive."

Moscow's elite residential segment is dominated by separate apartment blocks, as until now there have been only two similar, albeit smaller, developments in central Moscow: the 14,000-square-meter Palaty Muravyovykh, or Muravyov Chambers, on Ulitsa Ostozhenka, consisting of 17 townhouses; and the 10,000-square-meter Tri Topolya, or Three Poplars, on Ulitsa Plyushchikha, with seven townhouses and a six-story, 12-apartment building.

"Given the area's historic surroundings, office complexes and developed infrastructure, as well as the almost complete absence of similar offers there, space in the project is bound to be in demand," said Svetlana Puchkova, a specialist in the elite residential department at Delight Realty.

However, she noted that due to strong competition from other Moscow districts -- such as Ostozhenka or Arbat -- in order to attract buyers, Chistiye Prudy's developers should offer more attractive prices. Average prices per square meter in the Chistiye Prudy neighborhood are currently between $3,800 and $5,500, she added.

Despite its popularity, this part of Moscow is characterized by limited modern elite housing, since it lacks sites suitable for development: It is dominated by pre-revolutionary and mid-20th century buildings, none of which could be potentially slated for demolition, said Yekaterina Thain, director of elite residential real estate at Knight Frank.

For this reason, the project has very good potential, even though she considers its two mansions "too large" to be sold as private residences. "They are more likely to become corporate guesthouses, assuming that the developer's pricing is right," she added.