General Director of the AHRF took part in the Round Table entitled “Restoration: how to Engage Investors in the Architecture Rescue

On 30th January as a part of the Round Table program of the Evening Moscow channel the discussion entitled “Restoration: how to Engage Investors in the Architecture Rescue” took place.

Experts, representatives of authorities and business got together in the studio to answer the most worrying for investors questions: can an investor and under what conditions redeem an object of cultural heritage (OCH), what difficulties do they encounter more often, how can the OCH be used and what the state can do to engage more investments in this area.

The Event speakers:
- Alexey Emelyanov – Head of Department of Cultural Heritage of the City of Moscow;
- Philip Smirnov – Moscow historian, Editor-in-Chief of the Moscow Heritage magazine, guide, designer;
- Alexander Uradovskikh – Chief Architect of the Central Scientific and Restoration Design Workshops Federal State Unitary Enterprise of the RF Ministry of Culture;
- Andrey Stepanenko – General Director of the Auction House of the Russian Federation JSC, member of the General Council of the “Business Russia” All-Russian Public Association, Head of the Trading Committee;
- Tatyana Polidi – Executive Director of the Institute of Urban Economics.

Of course, the problem of preservation of the monuments in Moscow is urgent. In accordance with the last estimations, there are about 8,000 objects of cultural heritage in the capital. Of them, at least about 200 are in emergency condition and their number is growing every year.
According to Andrey Stepanenko opinion, the situation is getting worse because of the contradictions in Russian legislation, preventing privatization of the OCHs. “On the one hand, the OCH can be alienated only along with a land plot it occupies and only at the competition (that is, when the winner of the competition is obliged to carry out the certain conditions, regarding the OCH), and on the other hand, such land plot cannot be alienated by selling at the competition, but must be sold or rented at the auction (that is, when a participant, who offered the best price, becomes the winner)”, – he says.

Now the “Monument for the ruble” program exists in the City. In order to preserve and restore the OCHs, the investors are given the opportunity to rent the object for 49 years with a preferential rental rate as 1 RUR/sq. m per year, which is charged at the specified rate after the investor carries out the repair and restoration works. At the same time, the repair and restoration works cannot go on longer than seven years.
There is also the “Green Corridor” program started by the Administrative Directorate of the Ministry of Culture. According to its terms, the investor at competition gets the OCH for rent for 7 years. During this period he must complete the restoration of the monument. Then the OCH becomes the property of the investor.
In case of violation of the conditions the monument is being withdrawn.

In spite of the existing programs, there are few people who want to restore the OCHs. During 4 years under the “Monument for the ruble” program only 25 objects were rented out.
Many investors are scared away by preservation orders, which are not always clearly defined. In the process of restoration new nuances are being opened, due to which failure of deadline occurs.

The key problem in attracting investors to the restoration of the OCHs is how to interest the investor and, at the same time, to preserve the monument.

 Experts agreed on that, in order to interest the investor, this should be beneficial for him. At the same time, they noted, that many monuments have no prospects of obtaining the investment benefit.

According to Andrey Stepanenko, the situation can be corrected by transparent and understandable conditions for entering the project. “Currently, the restoration of the OCH is carried out mainly for private funds. The investor risks, so it is logical, that he carries out the restoration of the monument for modern use, and he is thinking about monetization and returning of investments in the future”.

 In the end of the discussion the speakers came to the conclusion, that each monument has its own peculiarities, so each specific matter of restoration and adaptation for modern use should be considered individually.