Kazan to reduce number of storeys

The city’s authorities have halted 40% of projects due to an unreasonable number of storeys and housing density

Kazan to reduce number of storeys
Photo: Maxim Platonov

The Kazan authorities have started to tighten requirements for the number of storeys and density of housing projects that don’t meet requirements for the comfort of the residential environment and norms of projects’ protection zones. The city’s Office of Architecture and Urban Engineering has slightly reduced the number of storeys of Otkritie Residential Complex: instead of 23-storeyed blocks of flats, RentCity GC will build a complex with different numbers of storeys from 10 to 20. The company’s Director General Ildar Vafin assured us that the residential area has not reduced as a result of the correction and has totalled 31,000 square metres, though 44,000 square metres were announced in December. It is noteworthy that there aren’t unified rules to determine the height, and the final word is up to the republic’s management.

To cut to 10 storeys?

Kazan is going to refuse widespread construction of high-rises with 23 and more storeys steering away of big cities trend for high blocks of flats. The average number of storeys in Kazan new builds ideally shouldn’t exceed 10 storeys, which is comfortable. Otherwise, the complex turns into a “humanhill”, noted Kazan’s Chief Architect Ilsiyar Tukhvatullina at a round-table talk Tendencies in the Market of Housing Under Construction: Opportunities for Developers and Banks organised by Otkritie FC.

Large developers, representatives of authorities of Tatarstan and Kazan gathered here to discuss the latest changes in the city’s urban engineering policy. A housing development project of RentCity GC in a place of the former industrial territory on Adel Kutuy Street with a new tallness definition and density principle for blocks of flats became the main case of the discussion.

Otkritie Bank FC finances the project by granting the developer 2,9 billion rubles. Vice Minister of Construction, Architecture and Housing and Utilities of Tatarstan Ilshat Gimayev, Manager of Otkritie bank in Tatarstan Damir Gabdulkhakov, Director of Otkritie’s Real Estate Department Yury Krivosheyev, Vice Director General of Finance of Unistroy Managing Company JSC Ruslan Kapanov became the main speakers of the round-table talk.

According to Kazan’s Chief Architect Ilsiyar Tukhvatullina, almost 40% of submitted projects were rejected and sent back for revision last year

40% of architecture projects denied

Kazan’s Office of Architecture and Urban Engineering of Kazan, which approves every housing project, rejects ensembles of towers with 23-25 storeys and sends them back for revision. According to Kazan’s Chief Architect Ilsiyar Tukhvatullina, almost 40% of submitted projects were rejected and sent back for revision last year.

“7-10 storeys are a comfortable height. Why? A person sees a child playing in the courtyard from a 5-storey height. This is why the regulated height for a block of flats is 75 metres, it can be 80 metres with engineering storeys. Now everybody sticks to this tallness,” she said at the conference with developers.

“Bad projects are sent back for revision,” she noted but didn’t specify the complaints. “It is a trouble — they want to place groceries nearby, while there is no room to sit down, have a meal, rest,” she complained. The chief architect of Kazan admitted that novices always have to be persuaded to do differently for a comfortable area to live.

Approval will be quick if the project is good, if it is multifunctional, diverse and has a good environment. “Then we try to accelerate the process too,” she explained.

The Kazan developer’s project was dramatically amended according to this regulation. Director General of RentCity Ildar Vafin said that the project had planned three 23-storeyed blocks of flats on an area of 30,500 square metres first. After amendments, it transformed into blocks from 10 to 20 storeys. The development project was named after Otkritie bank, which designed an individual financing scheme for it.

Ildar Vafin said that the project had planned three 23-storeyed blocks of flats on an area of 30,500 square metres first. After amendments, it transformed into blocks from 10 to 20 storeys

Has the useful area become smaller?

“We calculated the economy of the project to reduce the number of storeys,” Ildar Vafin said. “Additional sections will seemingly have to be added. All this leads to a higher cost sheet of the project. But this doesn’t happen because the set of flats changed,” he said.

According to him, the amendments boosted the comfort class of the housing because residents will have a private courtyard. “The project has not lost the useful residential area. The area totalled 30,524 square metres first, now it is 31,000 square metres,” he assured his colleagues.

However, as a result of reconsideration of the project’s value, the loan can become smaller, he specified later in a phone talk with Realnoe Vremya.

Nowadays RentCity is completing the construction of Parusa Residential Complex with a total area of 52,000 square metres. Last year, the company actively looked for “interesting land plots” to continue the construction.

“Several areas were considered: on the territory of Kazan’s River Port, in Osinovo, in Tatarstan’s Vysokaya Gora District. There were a lot of offers, but we chose the area on Adel Kutuy Street in the end,” he said and added that the changed the appearance of the project according to recommendations of the Office of Architecture and Urban Engineering. Meanwhile, Realnoe Vremya’s source says that five blocks of flats with a total area of nearly 44,000 square metres were going to be built at the first design stage. 976 comfort-class flats were due to be delivered.

The chief architect of Kazan added that the reduction of the number of storeys allowed creating conditions to develop the rear of this territory, so that “neighbours will not suffer”

Give us three days, and we will try to change it

“How nice you’ve said that you received recommendations,” Ilsiyar Tukhvatullina admonished him. “We had an argument with you!”

She reminded the audience that it took time to persuade the developer to change the project’s configuration. “I said this wouldn’t happen. In reply, they said all indicators were approved and they were in a hurry. Okay, give us three days, and we will try to change the project with this time as much as we can. The bank understood it needed to give us more time. So this is what we have,” the chief architect was happy.

The chief architect of Kazan added that the reduction of the number of storeys allowed creating conditions to develop the rear of this territory, so that “neighbours will not suffer”. “We often don’t think about how neighbouring territories will operate because high-rises overshadow adjacent territories.”

It seems that there aren’t united rules for tallness. “In every specific case, the maximum height of a block of flats depends on the current situation. To find out what tallness should appear there, the urban engineer analyses the surrounding area. We look at it from every angle, how the project looks. The silhouette depends on it. If we make a mistake at this stage, we will never change them,” thinks Ilsiyar Tukhvatullina.

According to the bank’s Manager in Tatarstan Damir Gabdulkhakov, Otkritie bank has set a credit limit of 18,5 billion rubles for loans of the region’s construction sector in the last two years

High-rises in special plots with amazing views

However, she says that high-rises might be built in Kazan, but only on certain territories for urban engineering. “It can be sites at the entrance to the city, at the intersection of highways. Here they can be higher,” she explained in answer to Realnoe Vremya’s question.

Otkritie Bank FC and the developer reconsidered the housing project several times and adopted the final result because every project matters. According to the bank’s Manager in Tatarstan Damir Gabdulkhakov, Otkritie bank has set a credit limit of 18,5 billion rubles for loans of the region’s construction sector in the last two years. 41 blocks with 6,781 flats will be built within this limit. “We understand the importance of the task of increasing construction volumes to provide housing availability. To address the issue, Otkritie bank arranged its work to process developers’ requests and citizens’ applications quickly,” Damir Gabdulkhakov noted. In 2020, Damir Gabdulkhakov granted Tatarstan citizens 1,604 mortgages for 4,2 billion rubles, another 448 loans for 1,2 billion rubles were granted during the first quarter of 2021.

According to Vice Minister of Construction, Architecture and Housing and Utilities of Tatarstan Ilshat Gimayev, construction projects for about 370 billion rubles were implemented in 2020 in the region. 74% of the housing in Tatarstan is delivered according to new shared construction rules (with escrow accounts). “Banks have an active civil stance, thanks to this we build new projects. The number of mortgages for new houses rose by 57% compared to the previous year. The growth in the second-hand market was 63%,” noted Ilshat Gimayev.

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By Luiza Ignatyeva. Photo: Maxim Platonov
Tatarstan