Idyllic life of IT hobbits: IT specialists offered to move to cottages

IT Park has announced plans to design a smart village for IT specialists in the suburbs of Kazan

Idyllic life of IT hobbits: IT specialists offered to move to cottages

As it became known to Realnoe Vremya, the IT Park is considering the idea of designing an IT village for its residents. Its location is planned to be chosen collectively by a survey of all comers. However, the idea is not new — in 2011, the IT Park already announced its intention to build an IT village for its residents. As a result, the new Innopolis city with its own special economic zone and university appeared in the Verkhneuslonsky district of Tatarstan. Whether IT specialists need suburban communes and whether they agree to move — Realnoe Vremya found out.

A smart village for 100+ IT professionals

The IT Park team is developing a smart cottage settlement project for the development of the republic's IT community. The project will occupy an area of 100 hectares, which will house 100+ households. A cottage in the village can be purchased with an IT mortgage at a rate of 5% per annum. IT Park residents were asked to take a survey on how they would like to see a “mini-city for the ideal life of IT specialists”, choose the preferred municipal area of its location, as well as name the estimated budget for building a house and identify other parameters of the future infrastructure.

Tatarstan already has a city for the ideal life of IT specialists — it is Innopolis. At the dawn of the project in 2011, it was also conceived as an IT village. Then the idea was scaled up and it was decided to build a larger settlement. The master plan for the new city was developed by RSP architects, a company from Singapore.

In 2014, Innopolis was registered as a city and became the youngest settlement in the modern history of Russia. Today, two new technoparks, Yu-1 residential quarter and a robotic hotel are being built in it. According to the information posted on the city's website, more than 7.5 thousand people live and work in it, more than 300 IT companies and more than 200 urban business companies are registered.

The Laishevsky district of Tatarstan also has its own IT village — it was built by the ICL group of companies for employees. The idea of creating an IT village belongs to the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Group of Companies, Viktor Dyachkov, and the construction itself started back in 2010.

The ex-director of IT Park, Alexander Borisov, said that he himself, when working at the technopark, pitched this idea to the management. “I consider it a good initiative based on the example of Innopolis, but I have not even heard that it has reached its implementation," he noted.

“You will live with like-minded people”

“There is a huge demand for such projects," said Anastasia Gizatova, a real estate expert, head of Svastliviy Dom real estate agency. “First of all, you will live with like-minded people. This way you minimise the risks of an unpleasant neighborhood. In other villages, choosing neighbours is just a lottery.”

According to Gizatova, the ICL group of companies already has good experience in this area. “I treat him as an element of socialism. As they say, everyone went to communism, but ICL reached it. They have a really wonderful housing project that commands respect. And very positive feedback from those who live there," Anastasia said.

In the case of IT Park, there will be certain guarantees of fulfillment of promises, she believes. “For sure, there will be friendly developers there, with certain points of control. It's safer than buying a house just like that," she says. “There will be confidence that the obligations will be fulfilled, high-quality construction materials will be used, there will be no rise in prices and disruptions in terms of commissioning, and it will also be possible to count on post-warranty service.” Gizatova does not rule out that the settlement will be interesting not only to employees of residents of IT Park.

This is the most solvent audience

Ruslan Khabibrakhmanov, the director of Flat real estate agency, also called the project interesting.

“IT specialists are the most solvent audience today. Today, IT specialists are one of the few who can take out a mortgage at a small percentage and for a fairly good amount up to 18 million rubles," he notes. “Such a project is a good way to retain staff. If an IT specialist buys a house with a mortgage, he is tied to his place of work and is more stable.”

Marat Gallyamov, the founder and director of the real estate agency Etazhi-Kazan doubts the implementation of the project. “It all comes down to the question of money," he said. “How many IT specialists would want to participate in this project and how many of them can afford it.”

The project must be supported by the state, he is sure. “This is design work, the cost of land, construction, communications, finishing," Gallyamov lists. “You need to invest in all this at the beginning. Who will take it upon themselves?"

It's not a bad idea, but...

“Actually, it's not a bad idea, there are a lot of IT specialists, and we like to cluster," says Yan Shevchenko, the founder and CEO of GD Forge and Fair Games. “Everything will depend on the conditions. On the other hand, if this is a place of temporary residence for residents, it will be a shame to leave if the startup does not take off. But the conversion rate of startups is not always high. But what a motivation to succeed.”

Vasil Zakiev, the co-founder of Sputnik, ex-project manager of the business incubator of IT Parks in Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny, says that the more IT specialists have a choice of housing options, the better.

“If I had been asked, I would have built a large apartment hotel for non-family IT specialists in the centre of Kazan and a cottage village for families. But it needs to be provided with public transport, kindergarten, and school. Otherwise, it won't make sense. It will be just another village," Zakiev believes.

Today, according to Vasil, there are many rural settlements around Kazan, and they are not connected by normal public transport to the city, they do not have normal kindergartens and schools, and they have nothing to offer the urban dweller.

“I think that the changeability of the environment and the observed picture is important for a person, but if people live with those they work with or often encounter in the corridors, then there will be no such changeability of social environment," explains technology entrepreneur Bulat Ganiev. “Although if a cool village appeared, then maybe I would buy a house in it, but I would consider it from the point of view of development value.”

“This is a good marketing tool to attract new residents to the IT Park, especially if you give the option of an idyllic life in the village of IT hobbits," reflects Marat Bikmullin, the chairman of Information Systems PLC. “When neighbours have a similar culture, life is more interesting, and people come to an agreement on household issues faster. It is convenient to solve the issue of child care together. There will be jobs for women on maternity leave — wives of residents in the village.”

However, if someone sells their house, the concept of an IT village will be washed away, and if you rent out houses, it will be difficult to evict families with children, the entrepreneur notes.
Besides, the IT park has a non-core asset, which usually reduces the effectiveness of core activities, since it distracts the brain and money.

Yulia Garaeva

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