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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Architect's House Revived as Office Showpiece

For MTRenovation work began on Moscow architect Mikhail Lopyrevsky's mid-19th-century mansion on Kaloshin Pereulok in 1998.
Saying it's two steps ahead of the city in its growing appreciation of historical buildings, DTZ Zadelhoff Tie Leung is offering the lease on a 19th-century architect's house near the Arbat.

The two-story wooden mansion is a historical monument owned by City Hall but leased by prospecting company Zarubezhgeologia, which has used the building since the 1970s and wants to sublease it.

The house has 400 square meters of office accommodation on two floors plus a basement and off-street parking, according to DTZ, the building's exclusive agent. The rent is $500 per square meter inclusive of operating costs and value-added tax.

Mikhail Lopyrevsky built the mansion on Kaloshin Pereulok, near the Vakhtangov Theater, between 1848 and 1851 for his own use. Lopyrevsky was a graduate of the Moscow Architectural School and participated in the construction of the Armory in the Moscow Kremlin, DTZ said.

He was also the architect of the capital's main post office on Myasnitskaya Ulitsa and participated in the construction of the original Christ the Savior Cathedral. He died aged 71 in April 1883 and is buried in Vagankovskoye Cemetery in Moscow, DTZ said.

After Lopyrevsky's death, the building was sold to a private buyer named Nikolai Androsov. Next, it was used as a maternity home between 1895 and 1917. After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the building became a small hospital. A note detailing surgery hours and dated 1921 was found on the ground floor of the building during renovations.

Local restorers started work on the building in 1998 and have revived its original wood paneling, molded ceilings and decorated walls, DTZ said.

"Buildings of this nature would be snapped up in the London market due to ... the general air of prestige and exclusivity they would lend to a business operation," said Stephen Wilson, managing director of DTZ's Moscow office.

Wilson acknowledged there are disadvantages with older buildings. "They cannot be changed and even the light fittings sometimes are inviolate," he said. "Modern cabling and office layout is sometimes difficult.

"Despite this, these mansions offer wonderful and unique opportunities for companies to acquire prestigious premises of a stand-alone nature in usually very good locations," he added.

In Moscow these types of buildings do not always rent out as readily as one would expect or as they would in an environment where property of this nature is very scarce, Wilson said.

"However, the signs are that the market is beginning to realize the value in these historic buildings, and we foresee a situation in the future where they will become more sought after and consequently harder to find," he said.

Alexander Shagalov, senior consultant for office space with Colliers International, agreed with Wilson the demand for a limited supply of historical, well-renovated buildings is growing.

Jack Kelleher, managing director at Noble Gibbons/CB Richard Ellis, said some older mansions can be quite beautiful, but others have been renovated in bad taste or poor quality.

"Generally speaking, most are inefficient and not able to meet modern technology demands of larger commercial organizations," he said.

Older buildings tend to have comparatively high amounts of space that are unusable compared to the total rentable space ratio that can make these buildings significantly more expensive per net usable office space than modern, larger floor plate buildings, he said.

"Noble Gibbons/CB Richard Ellis generally sees demand for these type of buildings coming from Russian organizations or smaller foreign groups," Kelleher said.

Colliers' Shagalov said the most likely companies to be interested in stand-alone historical buildings are Russian companies, especially banks.

Rather than sharing an entrance with several tenants, they would have complete control of all that goes on in the building, and they would often prefer to buy rather than lease, he said.

The comparative advantages and disadvantages of modern and historical buildings depend very much on the preferences and needs of individual companies, he added.