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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

29 Projects Vie to Be City's Best

For MTThe awards' organizers and members of the jury announcing the nominees last week.
The nominees for Moscow's first annual Commercial Real Estate Awards were announced last week. The winners of the awards -- organized by the Commercial Real Estate monthly magazine, or CRE -- will be announced on April 16.

The 29 nominated projects were chosen from an original list of some 200 properties, all completed in Moscow in 2002 or 2003, identified as contenders for the awards by CRE's research team.

Examples of the nominees include Mega, Atrium and Crocus City Mall for Best Large Shopping Center. Paveletskaya Tower, the Aurora Business Park, Chaika Plaza VII and Myasnitskaya Plaza are all nominees for Best Class A Business Center.

The awards' expert council, comprising over 100 real estate professionals, has selected the nominees on the basis of the projects' quality of construction and engineering, development of infrastructure, marketing strategy, vacancy rates, and architecture and design.

Unlike all other award categories that have three contenders each, both office categories -- Class A and Class B -- have four contenders for the prize.

Award Nominees
Class A Offices
Paveletsky Tower
Avrora Business Park
Chaika Plaza VII
Myasnitskaya Plaza
Class B Offices
ABC Alliance Business Center
Sadovnicheskaya 50
Derbenevsky Business Park
Large Shopping Center
Crocus City Mall
Medium Shopping Center
Zolotoi Vavilon
Small Shopping Center
Galleria Aeroport
Metromarket na Sokole
Solnechny Veter
Logistics Complex
Rent Center Terminal
Sheremetyevo Industrial Park
Denson Warehouse
Entertainment Complex
Fantasy Park
Ararat Park
Novinsky 31
Gostiny Dvor

Olga Arkhangelskaya, head of Ernst & Young's real estate advisory services and a member of the jury, said that this reflected market realities. "Offices are developing most dynamically," she said.

But the commercial real estate market as a whole is maturing, said Yelena Florinskaya, director at Paul's Yard and another jury member. "The market is growing up and is becoming more stable. It is becoming more transparent," she said.

"Right now the Best Shopping Center [award] will be nothing but a tablet, but in a few years time it will become a mark of quality," she added.

However, only 56 projects of the roughly 200 that made it to CRE's long list, agreed to be put forward as nominees for the awards.

"Some companies said they were not interested, while others refused to take part because they didn't want to make information about their projects public," said Maria Kotova, CRE's director of research.

But some of those projects that have not made it to the nomination stage said it was the organizers' failure to notify possible participants on time that was to blame. For example, the Novotel City Center Hotel, which opened in 2002, is the only hotel project completed in the city in the last two years that has not received a nomination.

"We only received a letter from the [awards] organizers one day before the deadline," said Alexis Delaroff, Novotel City Center's general manager. "I wasn't in Moscow at the time and even if I was, decisions like that are not made that quickly."

Ararat Park Hyatt, Tiflis and Aquarel -- the other three recently completed hotel projects -- all received a nomination.

The handful of nominations for the Best Hotel award highlights another problem -- the lack of quality completed projects in some categories.

In order to avoid this problem in the future, the awards will be expanded to include all of Russia next year, CRE's Kotova said.

Another difficulty highlighted by jury members was that incomparable projects often made it to one award category.

"It was especially difficult to rate shopping centers, because they are often targeted at different groups of people," Ernst & Young's Arkhangelskaya said.

For example, IKEA's Mega Mall in southern Moscow is family oriented, while the boutiques of the Crocus City Mall, are targeted at the country's wealthiest population.

In deciding the nominees, the jury was asked to rate the projects on the basis of how they performed against the selection criteria but not to compare them and decide which one was better, Natalya Ivanova, the project manager at CRE, said.

"That's the only thing that saved us. Of course, it is impossible to compare [five-star] Ararat and [23-room boutique hotel] Aquarel," said Ernst & Young's Arkhangelskaya.