In the late 20th century, many large cities around the world began redeveloping their abandoned industrial areas. This process could be called redevelopment, reorganization, renovation, reconstruction, etc. but the idea is simple: to make an empty abandoned space useful and people-friendly. Moscow is part of this global trend, as it using many of its abandoned industrial zones.

Large potential of industrial areas

The redevelopment of former industrial sites fits well into Moscow’s new urban development policy. First, they are easily accessible since most of the city’s industrial zones are near motorways (such as Volgogradsky Prospekt, Dmitrovskoye Motorway, Profsoyuznaya Street, etc.), the Third Ring Road, the Smaller Moscow Belt Railway (soon to offer passenger service), and the Moskva River.

Second, industrial areas are large with plenty of space for residential areas, business and entertainment centres, sports facilities, parks and car parks with an optimal density that avoids new points of congestion. Moscow is doing all of that under the current general urban development plan, which includes the redevelopment of 4,300 ha, or 43 mln square metres (the total area of industrial zones in Moscow, excluding the new territories, is 18,800 ha).

Third, redeveloping industrial areas will help improve the investment climate in the city. These projects are funded by both the city and with developer money.

These positive points result in economic benefits, including revenue for the city.

Statistically, state and private business are attracted to these projects. In 2011-2015, 47 projects were approved with 20 of them now underway including Verkhniye Kotly, Volgogradsky Prospekt, Graivoronovo, ZIL, Lenino, Serp I Molot, Sokolinaya Gora, Tyoply Stan, Tushinsky Aerodrom and others. In 2016-2017, the Moscow Urban Development and Land Commission will consider 26 more redevelopment proposals.

Below are the most interesting projects in former industrial areas.

ZIL

According to Deputy Mayor for Urban Development and Construction Marat Khusnullin, in the next 10 years the former Likhachyov Plant (ZIL), which covers about 60 hectares, will become one of the most developed areas in Moscow. A residential area will be built for up to 30,000 people, as well as social facilities: kindergartens, schools and outpatient clinics. This project to convert former plant buildings into business centres will help create over 45,000 jobs.

The transport infrastructure is being developed at a dynamic pace. At the end of 2015, a new metro station, Tekhnopark, was opened. In 2016-2018 there will be 20 km of new roads, and the construction of an automobile bridge will begin in 2018. The bridge will parallel the Moscow Central Railroad and connect the Third Ring Road with Varshavskoye Motorway.

The former plant has developed into a centre of attraction due to the Park of Legends sport and entertainment area, which covers seven hectares. In May 2016, it hosted the Hockey World Championships. The main events were held in the Ice Palace, but visitors also appreciated the Hockey Museum, a fan zone for 12,000 people and a tourist information centre. The Park of Legends also accommodates a water sports complex, business and convention centres, a multi-level parking for 3,500 cars and related infrastructure.

Nagatinskaya Poima

Nagatinskaya Poima (Flood Plain) is ZIL’s close neighbor. This industrial area covers 28 hectares, but still has great potential. In 2018, Moscow’s “Disneyland” will open here. Dream Island entertainment park will consist of five themed areas centering on family, children, sports, interactive activities and a park. The facilities will protect visitors during bad weather, and the park will be able to accept some 50,000 people a day or 10 million per year.

Access to Dream Island will be convenient. Nagatinskaya Poima will be connected with the Tekhnopark metro station and the ZIL development by overpasses. Also it will be connected to Prospekt Andropova, and a 600 metre bridge will be built to 2nd Yuzhnoportovy Proyezd with six lanes in each direction and three-metre wide pedestrian pavements.

Serp I Molot

The Serp I Molot (Hammer and Sickle) metalworks opened in 1883 and was one of Russia’s largest industrial facilities. However, it couldn’t survive new economic realities. In the 1990s, production volume decreased, and in 2011, the plant was closed.

This area of over 100 hectares (60 ha of production facilities) with good transport accessibility and near the city centre could not avoid investors’ attention. In 2011-2015, a large Russian IT company built its offices in the area. Two buildings, with a total area of 36,000 square meters, hold as many as 3,500 employees; the car park is designed for 700 cars. But the innovative technology used in the buildings is a highlight.

A system of modern utility lines with automated control systems and a joint control center has allowed the office to receive the highest category, A+. The office is very eco-friendly: it uses rain water and saves up to 60% of normal energy use due to a smart system of lighting and heating.

Another interesting section at Serp I Molot is Symbol Art Park, opened in June 2016 as part of the 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Many of the sculptures and installations that are displayed there were made from the items found at the abandoned plant.

The Serp I Molot redevelopment plan was approved in late 2014. It includes several new buildings with a total area of 1.5 mln square metres, including social infrastructure and 4 kilometres of roads. It will accommodate 19,000 people and create the same number of jobs. One third of the former industrial area will become a park. The project is due to completed in 2025.

Yuzhny Port

Yuzhny Port (Southern Port) is Moscow’s largest industrial zone with a total area of 900 hectares. The development plan will be implemented in stages. In 2013, two projects were approved for areas of 130 and 126 hectares respectively. The main goal now is to improve the transport infrastructure and utility lines in the area. Plans call for creating about 26,000 jobs eventually.

Yuzhny Port includes the Lenin Komsomol Plant (AZLK), or Moskvich. In the next few years, the plant’s main building will be redesigned: the area will be increased by 50 percent, from 20,000 to almost 30,000 square metres, and a car park for 500 cars will be built. The renovated building will include an office centre.

The former AZLK museum will also be redeveloped: there will be a building of 11,000 square metres which will hold a library, a museum, an additional educational centre, offices and a small hotel.

Today, the Moskva technopolis has already opened.