City Development Plan Aims to Stop Expansion

A new plan for Moscow's development will try to stop its expansion beyond the Moscow Ring Road, or MKAD, with new investment being directed to rebuilding existing premises, Alexander Kuzmin, the city's chief architect, said Wednesday at a news conference.

The 20-year plan, which must be approved by the Moscow city government next year to become law, will boost the latest trend in building in Moscow, where in 1999 70 percent of all construction sites were inside the MKAD. Just five years ago, the situation was reverse, Kuzmin said.

Huge industrial zones built in the Soviet era showed they are not properly used and are now being rebuilt as residential buildings, such as one near the Moscow Zoo, Kuzmin said.

Analysts said that allowing developers to own the land they build on, rather than restricting land use, would be the best way to encourage investors.

Polina Kondratenko, a market researcher at Colliers HIB, said in a telephone interview that though many buildings in the industrial zones may be converted into attractive new premises, developers will still be wary of investing because they can only lease land for 49 or 99 years and not own it.

In a telephone interview, Adrian Moore, a real estate and construction partner at Baker & McKenzie, said that like all big cities Moscow has a lot of underused and derelict land. He suggested that a way to develop it might be a law on private land ownership.

Under the development plan, 12 recreational zones are to be built. They include new skating rinks, soccer stadiums, bicycle tracks and a skiing slope made from earth removed from construction sites, Kuzmin said.

He also said all of the capital's 18 theatres will be renovated beginning with the Bolshoi, but did not give any details of how this would be financed.

A lot of space is to be freed with the demolition of old Krushchev-era five-story panel buildings.