From dilapidated housing elimination to stadium construction
How TAIF shapes a new appearance of Tatarstan cities. Part one
Despite a crisis in the sector, Tatarstan is among the regions achieving successes in housing development even today. Russian Vice Premier Marat Khusnullin includes the republic to the top 10 leaders that achieved successes in this area. Tatarstan manages to keep the leadership by implementing social programmes and thanks to investors’ active support. TAIF Group made a considerable contribution to the formation of the construction sector and development of civil engineering. A myriad of socially important facilities were built that are important for the republic: blocks of flats, health care and educational institutions, sports and cultural and entertainment centres, administrative buildings of state significance. The merit of the group of companies in conservation of Tatarstan’s historical heritage is great. Realnoe Vremya starts a cycle of articles about TAIF’s activity in civil engineering.
How TAIF helped to save the Tatarstan construction complex and Kazan citizens to move from slums
In 2021, Tatarstan reached one of the highest housing delivery numbers in Russia. Housing delivery surpassed a 12,8% forecast and totalled 3 million square metres, which became a record high. This is a merit of republican authorities and the companies funding the construction of homes for Tatarstan residents. TAIF Group became a permanent investor in the construction of residential quarters.
Nowadays three subsidiaries of TAIF Group successfully run their activity in construction and the production of construction materials: TAIF-ST CJSC, Kazan Plant of Silicate Wall Materials CJSC and Keramika-Sintez CJSC. Over the years of its operation, TAIF-ST has built and commissioned more than 50 industrial, administrative and residential facilities with a total area of more than 500,000 square metres. But first things first.
Since the beginning of its activity, TAIF has actively developed construction. However, it was tough to start this job in the 90s: the construction sector was seriously affected during the Perestroika crisis. There weren’t public contracts, the country didn’t have a planned economy, construction projects were on hold.
“During these tough times, in the mid-90s and early 2000s, TAIF together with all constructors of the republic played a significant role in the conservation of the construction sector of Tatarstan,” says Albert Shigabutdinov, director general of TAIF MC JSC.
Russia’s unprecedented presidential dilapidated housing elimination programme was implemented in Tatarstan with TAIF. “The decision to solve this “problem of the century” in such a tough Perestroika period, an economically unstable time perhaps seemed to be both strange and unreal,” recalls First President of Tatarstan, State Adviser to the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiyev. At the beginning of this large-scale campaign, the diversified holding assumed the function of supplying tangible resources.
“During this slog, TAIF purchases huge lots of metal, reinforced concrete, cement and other construction materials for the State Housing Fund. This allowed us to start the programme. Of course, the management of TAIF understood that it lost more financially than it gained. Any Western company wouldn’t lift a finger, but in our case the republic’s image was at stake before the celebration of Kazan’s 1000th anniversary, an opportunity to help the citizens not only with a word but an action,” remembers former Executive Director of the Tatarstan presidential State Housing Fund Talgat Abdullin.
TAIF took out a loan to fund the activity of the fund and organised a supply of more than 160,000 tonnes of cement, over 130,000 tonnes of metal, pipes, other equipment. Within the programme, the holding’s subsidiary TAIF-ST built two 12-storeyed brick blocks of flats in Kazan’s Azino 1 microdistrict in record time in 1997. In a year, another two blocks were delivered. The Kazan citizens living in old, uncomfortable houses in the city centre could move to new comfortable flats.
As a result of the implementation of the programme, 1,763 new blocks were erected in Kazan, housing with a total area of 2,7 million square metres was delivered. The elimination of dilapidated housing helped reduce the wear of the housing stock in the republic from 60 to 45%, thus cutting public expenses on maintaining old houses and major overhaul. According to Talgat Abdullin, it was a kind of social breakthrough when the low-income population were resettled from the 19th-century ramshackle housing to comfortable 21st-century blocks of flats, while TAIF made its first contribution to the common cause. The result like in the social mortgage programme turned out to be impressive. This happened thanks to the authorities and businesses’ efforts.
“Tatarstan holds leading positions in Russia in the scale of social programmes, and TAIF is always engaged in them. It made a considerable contribution to the Dilapidated Housing Elimination Programme, helped and helps the republic to implement the programmes Social Mortgage, Belekech and other no less important and claimed ones,” Russian Minister of Construction and Public Utilities Irek Fayzullin noted TAIF’s merits in developing the construction sector.
TAIF GC was given the award Russian Creators for its outstanding contribution to the development of the country’s construction sector in 2004.
Large investor in social housing market
TAIF projects are closely linked with the fates of tens of thousands of Tatarstan residents working in the group’s enterprises. The management of the holding has always set large-scale social tasks for itself, for instance, to improve its staff’s living conditions.
In 2005-2021, the workers of TAIF GC received 6,812 flats (it is over 415,000 square metres) in social mortgage, industrial complex development programmes and an additional housing programme together with Avers bank.
The enterprises of the group granted the workers a loan for 15 years for a down payment when buying a flat and compensated for loan interest. The borrowers could hope for a sum equal to 20% of the flat price. And in case of honest work without remarks they received the right to additional benefits. For instance, the enterprise annually deducted 8-10% of the debt for the workers working for more than five years. If the worker worked at TAIF GC throughout the loan period, all his debt is repaid due to an additional reward for his or her fruitful work. The support for the workers of the group of companies, an aspiration to improve their living conditions made TAIF one of the large investors in the social housing development market.
Investment in education
Investment in the education system takes price of place for TAIF’s social activity. New places in kindergartens and schools within Belekech and Kilechek programmes (Editor’s note: The Little One and The Future in Tatar) aimed to modernise and develop pre-school and educational institutions were created with the company’s money. So according to the Tatarstan Ministry of Construction, the Belekech programme was 136% complete: more than 2,000 places were created with a plan for 1,470. Almost all children under three years got a chance of going to the kindergarten. TAIF was involved in the programme directly by building very comfortable kindergartens with an original design.
Two facilities built in Novo-Savinovsky District in Kazan can be put as an example: The Pearl kindergarten No. 28 on 24a, Bondarenko Street and The Star Kid kindergarten No. 414 on 40, Chetayev Street. The construction of each one took about 8-10 months, all the works were done with the latest technologies with high-quality materials.
The Institute of Chemistry of Kazan Federal University built by TAIF-ST CJSC in 2015 on Kazanorgsintez PJSC’s request became one of the leading research centres. An eight-storey building hosts 37 big laboratories where research on organic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, petrochemistry and fine chemical technologies and catalysis is done. TAIF was honoured by the university management’s high appreciation of the activity.
“The republic, TAIF joined this work with a strategic understanding of the goals and tasks. It is a new impulse to develop the chemical science, its investment prospects but at the same time it is new opportunities to bring science and the industry together, a place where practice-oriented research is done upon the enterprises’ request and where our enterprises can take — and successfully take — not only ideas but also high-qualified staff,” it was said at the solemn opening.
In 2008, TAIF took on the financing of the construction of the Tatar female school No. 12 on 89, Dekabristov Street. TAIF-ST CJSC was the contractor general of the construction. The total area of the educational institution is almost 8,000 square metres. It is one of the first schools in Tatarstan with separate education. It was opened as early as 1993 in the Old Tatar Settlement in Kazan by the urban education administration with the help of Ak Kalfak female public organisation. The school was located in a building of a former kindergarten first. In 2007, it was decided to build a new building for 240 students in Moskovsky District. The project envisaged four primary school classes, 15 classrooms, a gym and changing rooms, an event hall for 144 seats, a canteen for 104 seats, a library, an auditorium, a first aid station, a dance studio, a swimming pool and much more.
“My long nurtured dream is coming true. An amazing school is built. I think a lot of people will want to study here after its opening,” said laureate of the G. Tukay State Award of the Republic of Tatarsan, honourable artist of Russia and Tatarstan, popular writer of the Republic of Tatarstan Tufan Minnullin (1935-2012) about the Tatar female school.
To the sports republic from TAIF
TAIF makes a huge contribution to the development of sport and a healthy lifestyle in Tatarstan. The Group of Companies has sponsored professional teams, built, repaired and maintained sports infrastructure of the republic for many years.
From 2011 to 2015, the number of sports venues in Tatarstan increased by almost 1,500 — to 10,578. The merit of TAIF that invested big money in new facilities — swimming pools, ice palaces, sports complexes, camps and bases, gyms — long before public funding was allocated by the Universiade is big here.
Orgsintez PJSC swimming pool was renovated in Kazan in 2019. During the repair, the ceiling and walls were completely replaced in the big pool. The swimming pool got a modern illumination system with three key modes: training, competition and as bright as possible for HD TV transmissions. Ventilation, drying and air conditioning systems were completely upgraded in the swimming pool — they allow keeping a certain humidity level indoors. The water conduct and water treatment tank were replaced, the filtration system in small swimming pools was renewed. New heat exchangers with electronic control that are responsible for the heating system, hot water supply and water heating in the swimming pools were installed.
The aquatic venue hosts matches of Russian water polo championship and international competitions, training of Olympic Reserve School students. Thousands of children and adults do swimming here for pleasure. Orgsintez is a training base of Sintez water polo team from Kazan that has become a champion and repeated medallist of Russia, the winner of the Russian Cup and the LEN Trophy Cup.
One of the oldest Kazan stadiums Dynamo had a new lease of life with the help of TAIF-ST. The stadium on 24, Schapov Street is popular among sports and a healthy lifestyle fans and of, course, it required reconstruction with time. The artificial grass, a drainage system were replaced at the stadium, the facade and roof, the stands were repaired, additional demountable stands were installed. A special coating makes sure the pitch remains dry even when it rains. Four treadmills and an area for triple jumps and high jumps were equipped for training. Dynamo handball team got a great training site.
By the World Summer Universaide, TAIF built the Field Hockey Centre in Kazan — it is a grandiose Universiade venue where teams trained and competed. There are only four venues of this kind in Russia. The facility with a total area of over 6,000 square metres started to be built in 2005. The constructors of TAIF-ST CJSC had complex engineering tasks that needed to be done meeting strict requirements of the International Field Hockey Federation. The centre was erected on 6,5 hectares, it includes two hockey pitches, six treadmills, a court for basketball and volleyball, stands for 2,300 seats, changing rooms, a gym, medicine and massage offices, sports storage rooms under the stands. The venue complies with all international requirements, adorned the city becoming an indispensable landmark and an important sports venue.
In 2005, the Ice Palace for 5,500 seats was built in Nizhnekamsk. The petrochemists’ sports and culture complex became a unique facility: the state-of-the-art technologies and materials were used in the construction. A climate control system was introduced, a modern acoustic system was used to avoid echoes, a water treatment unit was assembled to make ice. With time, the facility required being upgraded. In 2015, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC did a large-scale renovation. As a result, the main entrance to the palace changed, the neon lighting of the facade was replaced for LED, the area near the palace was improved. The colour of the walls and interior changed inside, the foyer and retail spaces became more spacious for visitors. But the ice rink itself changed the most: now it accommodates 6,000 fans. A big site was created for cheerleaders. Neftekhimik Hockey Club trains in the Ice Palace — it is a medallist of republican and Russian competitions of different years, professional matches are held there too.
TAIF renovated the stadium of Almash football centre in Nizhnekamsk. Competitions at Neftekhimik stadium gathers a lot of fans, moreover, not only from Tatarstan. An attendance record was set in July 1993 when 10,000 football fans gathered for a Russian Cup match between Neftekhimik and Spartak. In 2000, the number of seats in the stands increased, heating and automatic pitch watering were installed. The pitch quality at the stadium is considered one of the best in Russia.
“Social responsibility of a business became a norm of life. Investment in the development of science and sport, health and education of people, support for culture and art, talented youth are evidence of the benefactors’ big aspirations. The TAIF management thinks that any achievement should work for the good of all Tatarstan residents. We try to really improve the people’s quality of life, make our contribution to the republic’s social politics. Therefore we cannot work ineffectively and steadily move forward making the slogan of our company ‘Power for the Good!’ a reality,” stresses Albert Shigabutdinov.