Five-storey redevelopment programme will take 10-15 years

Five-storey redevelopment programme will take 10-15 years
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
The list of residential buildings in the programme will be finalised after the approval of the federal law and residents’ vote.

The minimal timeframe for the redevelopment programme is between 10 and 15 years, Sergei Sobyanin told Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda.

The city has launched the new redevelopment programme at the request of Moscow residents. “We have received hundreds of thousands of proposals from Muscovites who would like us to extend the current demolition programme of five-storey prefab buildings. We responded to this request and to what we see,” he said.

There were earlier attempts to repair the khrushchevki (low-quality five-storey residential buildings named after CPSU General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev) under a capital repairs programme, but this proved impossible. Some apartment owners simply refused to let workers in. Some buildings had sagging framing and drooping balconies. To repair the utility lines, you had to break the walls. “Our repairs would not save the situation; 10 to 15 to 20 years later this building, regrettably, will be unfit for living and dangerous for residents,” he added.

A vote will be taken on 4,500 buildings. The first stage includes buildings in poor physical condition that are not practical to repair, 70 percent of whose residents voted in a preliminary poll for them to be pulled down.

Nine-storey buildings will not be included in the project. According to Sobyanin, they can make an exception only for very decrepit buildings that are part of a block. But again their residents need to unanimously vote for demolition.

When and how the vote will be taken

The vote on which buildings to include in the redevelopment programme will be taken between 15 May and 15 June. This can be done at any My Documents centre, on the website or through the Active Citizen app. “If residents do not want to vote in the centres or on the Active Citizen website, or if they want to but do not trust these voting methods, they can hold a meeting of apartment owners in full conformity with the Housing Code and submit the minutes to their district administration. The latter option – the decision determined at the meeting – is the priority decision,” he said.  

A building will be included in the programme if the decision is supported by two-thirds of the residents; otherwise it will not be torn down. “Please continue to live in this building; we’ll try to repair it as far as possible. The amount of work is so huge and so complicated that we have no intention of dragging into the programme any good and sturdy buildings or those that people are reluctant to leave,” he said.

When the new programme will be launched and how long it will take

The final list of buildings included in the redevelopment programme will be okayed after the vote and the approval of the federal law.

Inclusion in the programme and the actual demolition may be separated by several years. The Mayor reminded his audience that 1,900 buildings were knocked down under the first demolition programme targeting five-storey buildings that would have expired next year. “That programme was announced in 1988; 30 years have passed but we are tearing down the last houses under this programme even though it is half as long. We will not let this programme last that long, but 10-15 years is the minimal time that we’ll need.”

Preserving historical buildings

The voting lists will not include landmarks, city backbone buildings or designated cultural heritage facilities.

The city will try to preserve and restore buildings of any historical value. “We must keep in mind that people should not become hostages to these buildings. But we are ready, jointly with experts, to look into the matter and decide what should be done with these later,” he said.

Comfort class repairs and help with moving 

Pensioners, veterans and other privileged categories of residents will not need to bother with moving after they receive their new apartments: the city will take care of everything. “We will help these categories of people – pensioners, veterans, etc. – to move. We are doing this right now by paying for the loading, the vehicles, the move, and so on,” he said.

They will not need to pay for repairs at the new flats either. The new housing will include quality repairs, with windows, entrance and interior doors, quality wallpaper, and floor covering. “We have decided to stipulate in the federal law that the interior furnishings should be at the comfort class, not economy class, level. This is a higher level that obviates any need for upgrades. Just go there, open the door, and live,” he said.

Citizens waiting in line for social housing will be provided with flats under the social norm. The rest will have as many rooms as they had in their old apartments. If they so wish, they will be able to expand their floor-space at additional cost: “In this case, we will envisage certain discounts, deferrals, possibly easy-term mortgages: we are currently working on this with mortgage companies.”

Five-storey houses not included in the list: how to join the programme

Five-storey buildings not included in the vote can also join the redevelopment programme. “There are nearly 3,500 such buildings that could be included due to their physical condition. But there were many people who doubted and objected. This is why we didn’t include those buildings on the voting lists at this stage,” he said.

For the city to consider an inclusion application, the residents need to hold a general meeting, write an official application and submit it to their district administration.  After that, the authorities will assess the technical state of their building and the possibility of and timeframe for resettlement.