Prestigious real estate sites await potential investors

Until December 10th, the State Property Committee is receiving applications for auction (scheduled for December 15th) selling the buildings of the former EVM Plant in Yakub Kolas Street.
By Victor Korbut

It’s now a real luxury to be able to buy a property in the centre of Minsk, one that not many people can afford. Those with money however, can currently bid for a chance to buy a piece of real estate in the historic heart of the city. They need to have, in addition, the understanding that an historic building is a cultural treasure and needs preserving for future generations. Until December 10th, the State Property Committee is receiving applications for auction (scheduled for December 15th) selling the buildings of the former EVM Plant in Yakub Kolas Street.


The building of the former Computing Machines Plant
The building of the former Computing Machines Plant

Br930, 105,143,000 is the estimated price

60,472 sq.m is covered by the former EVM Plant premises — all offered for sale

Architectural building provides further public service


On the opposite side of the street to the plant is the former Printing Factory. This is a good example of a building that has already been converted from industrial use and offers a positive view of the project’s possibilities for potential investors. The new owner of the print works has managed to preserve the authentic appearance of the building’s facade, whilst reconstructing the interior into a smart hotel, much needed in the city.

The EVM Plant’s premises are no less valuable and of equal importance historically. Until WWII, this was on the outskirts of Minsk but was part of a pre-war programme to build a series of grand monumental buildings. Among them were the Physical Culture Institute, the Radio Plant, the Polytechnic Institute, a hospital, the Academy of Sciences and the Printing House. In 1944, Minsk was liberated from German occupation and the reconstruction continued with the aim of creating a busy central district stretching along the avenue. Yakub Kolas Square was established on the site of a group of wooden houses which were not demolished until the 1950s.

In 1953-1956, the Yakub Kolas Printing Factory was built and, from 1955-1961, the Ordzhonikidze EVM Plant was constructed nearby. In 1988, these two buildings were included on the List of Belarusian Historical and Cultural Monuments, compiled by the BSSR Academy of Sciences. A famous architectural researcher, Tamara Gabrus, described them as: ‘Four-storey brick buildings with sloping gambrel roofs, creating a uniform construction on the north-western side of the square. Their extended rectangular wings are accentuated on one side by symmetrical tower-like structures, which add expression and emphasis the corner of Vera Khoruzhaya Street, while creating a unique background for the Yakub Kolas monument situated in the square. Apart from the roofs, the buildings have identical facades. The ground floor is decorated with grey granite and is rusticated while all houses enjoy impressive ornate and figurative brickwork’.

This is a rare example of a factory built, not simply for production purposes, but for aesthetic quality and civic pride. In our time, the building is to be given a new lease of life — serving city residents and guests, while waiting for the right investor.

Architects already have ideas about how to reconstruct  the former plant  whilst preserving its historic appearance
Architects already have ideas about how to reconstruct  the former plant  whilst preserving its historic appearance

No need to lose out

The State Property Committee reminds investors of the advantages of owning a historical property such as this. Following a written application, buyers could receive a 12 month deferred payment. The rental agreements can be for up to fifty years. The winner of the auction would not need to pay until the conclusion of a land lot renting agreement (the total price of all lots could reach over $9m).

Any future investor has the right to decide independently how to use the historic building in Yakub Kolas Square (in addition to other plant premises). Residential use however, will not be permitted.

More importantly, an investor would not pay for the transition of other production premises; the city authorities take on this responsibility. There will be no need to lay drainage; water and energy supply systems as all engineering networks operate smoothly.

It would seem unwise to lose this opportunity to apply new business ideas to a project. Meanwhile, the Culture Ministry is committed to ensuring that its new owners will not damage the architectural integrity of the monument. Restoration and repair would definitely benefit the 50-year-old building despite the strength of its thick walls. In the 1950s, construction works were thorough and efficient which is another advantage of the old plant premises.

Potential investors are warmly welcomed and the Government of Belarus would be pleased if someone would breathe new life into the deserted plant, preserving a truly wonderful architectural monument.

Competent view

The former EVM Plant is currently being developed into a multi use retail and residential building named Impuls. Igor Chekmarev, the Head of the Republican Property Management Department at the State Property Committee, explained the changes it might undergo after the auction, “The Impuls trading centre rents parts of the building (in Vera Khoruzhaya Street) which is an architectural monument and can be altered as long as certain restrictions are upheld regarding the listed building rules. At present, a partial reconstruction has been completed; the premises are now seen as retail rather than a factory. If the owner changes as a result of the auction, all rental agreements would remain on the existing terms until the end of their contracts. Taking into consideration the restrictions placed on the reconstruction of such buildings, we can assume that a new owner would preserve the status quo of the building’s use.

MT’s reference:

• The auction is scheduled for December 15th at 11am. It will be hosted by the State Property Committee, at 12 Krasnozvezdny Lane, Minsk (on the 5th floor, in the meeting hall).

• Applications and advice can be found at the same address (room 529), until December 10th, from 9-12am. Telephone (8-017) 284-75-61.

• Viewing of the lots on site will be possible by prior appointment until December 9th — every working day from 2 to 5pm.

• The premises of the former plant are divided into six lots; these can be bought in parts or as a whole.

• Before the auction, bidders will need to lodge a deposit, returned in case of no-sale. Foreign investors can pay the deposit in Euros or Dollars, with no conversion fees.

• Other details can be found on the State Property Committee site: www.gki.gov.by.
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