Piterland Complex Opens Doors on Finnish Gulf
Published: June 21, 2012 (Issue # 1713)
Representatives hope Piterland can turn Primorsky district into a recreational zone.
Piterland, described by its creators as a new “multifunctional complex with retail elements” opened on Friday, June 15.
The complex represents the first phase of a project undertaken in the Primorsky district by project developer Stremberg, an investment and construction company, and Tor, the project’s general contractor.
Piterland, which consists of retail facilities and a water park, occupies 170,000 square meters on Primorsky Prospekt on the coast of the Gulf of Finland; another 300,000 square meters will house a four-star hotel, apartments and a yacht club. Construction on the second phase of the project is planned to start within the next six months and to finish by the end of 2013.
Representatives of Piterland’s management companies believe that the complex will attract residents from other city districts and tourists from other cities, transforming this part of St. Petersburg into a recreational zone with its water park, which is the largest roofed water complex in Europe, according to Alexander Kozhin, president of Stremberg. The park, which occupies 25,000 square meters, opened back in February this year.
Kozhin said the project’s overall investment was $320 million, noting the sum has not changed as construction continues, despite the financial difficulties caused by the 2008 economic crisis.
“Stremberg has gained two plots of land: 2.2 hectares on which to build a yacht club and 3.8 hectares on which to build an apartment building,” Kozhin said. “Now we are trying not to hurry. The 2008 crisis has taught us not to build everything at once, but to start with something small and move forward only after it is finished,” he added.
“The crisis forced us to introduce changes to the project, concerning the external appearance of the complex in particular,” said Yevgeny Podgornov, senior architect at Interkolumnium, the architecture firm that designed the complex. He also noted that the original project, which was developed in 2006 and underwent an expert review, differed from the final version.
Piterland representatives emphasized the difficulties of adjusting large-scale building projects based on the example of foreign countries in both America and Asia to Russian construction and safety standards.
“We couldn’t build the wooden dome over the water park at first because of fire safety standards; we were required to cover it with plaster and concrete, so we had to negotiate with Moscow a lot to gain permission to construct the cupola and building in general,” Podgornov said.
The main concept of the retail area was to attract new brands to St. Petersburg that are not currently in the city.
The water park’s wooden dome had to be modified to meet fire safety standards.
“It’s difficult to close contracts as companies usually don’t consider the St. Petersburg market to be profitable because it has a very individual character and the volume of sales is pretty small,” said Vitaly Kozhin, general director of Stremberg.
“We are currently negotiating with Starbucks; they liked our concept because it coincides with their concept of wooden interiors,” he added.
Currently the Starbucks coffee shop chain is not represented in St. Petersburg.
According to Vitaly Kozhin, 80 percent of space in the retail area has already been rented.
“Only the biggest spaces are left, which we plan to rent out to the most prestigious brands,” he said.
Rental rates for retail space at the complex range from $300 to $8,000 per month.
Independent analysts said the complex’s selling feature would be its water park, as the location is not the most attractive.
“This is a standard retail complex with an element of entertainment,” said Lyudmila Reva, broker services director at Astera real estate company.
“What distinguishes it from other such complexes is the water park. The project is great because of what the complex has inside. The location is a problem however, because there are plenty of other retail and entertainment complexes in the district,” she added.
Reva said that the fact that the complex has opened with a minimum of tenants open for business is not a problem, and that the majority of its rental agreements have been already signed.
“The complex will likely be fully occupied in September 2012,” she said.