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22.10.2012 MIKHAIL SEMEBOV: "The strongest always win"

The General Director of RENOVA-StroyGroup, Mikhail Semenov, explained to “Business Petersburg” how the decision to enter the St. Petersburg market was taken. He talked about, in the opinion of a Muscovite, the problems of the northern mentality, and explained how to create projects, where there will be no feelings of a ghetto, and neighbors will not scratch each other’s cars in the yard.
Real Estate, People, Construction
The RENOVA-StroyGroup entered the St. Petersburg market a few months ago. How long was the company preparing for this step? And to what extend were you personally involved in this process?
- We have been intently looking at the St. Petersburg market for the last 2.5 years. During all this time, I participated in negotiations involving possible projects. However, no transactions took place, because there were no suitable sites. I shall make no secret of the fact that we were very cautious. We wanted to join projects with a clear consumer demand. However, at first, we did not have a feel for the condition of the market. The market in St. Petersburg is segmented: they build and buy a lot in some areas, while in others, they neither build nor buy. This makes St. Petersburg different from the other Russian cities, where development is more uniform.
What made RENOVA-StroyGroup pay attention to the small area on Petrovsky Island, which you bought at the beginning of summer from the Petrovsky Alliance? The scale of operations there is completely different.
- However, the demand is obvious, too. High-end housing, about 20,000 sq. m. will be built there. I will not tell you the details of the concept (we have not yet completed the tender), but we already have a clear timetable. We shall remove the Spetstrans Company from the area by the middle of 2015. In fact, nothing remains there, and we can already start the construction work. However, there are still problems with the facilities: water, heat and electricity.
You have been negotiating with the Strömberg Company about the purchase of a territory near the Park of the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg. Will there be a transaction?
- So far, no. I am not t sure that by the end of the year we can sign anything. The fact is that this is a project for a suites hotel with an area of 178,000 sq. m. No one in the city has built such a number of suites yet, and thus it is questionable whether such a big project will find a buyer, without a prior agreement. This project is possible only if there is a corporate order for it.
Natalia Kovtun
Read more in the latest issue of the newspaper Business Petersburg.

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