‘For some reason, offices are concentrated in the centre’: new Gazprom HQ near Lake Kaban

The real preparation for the construction of the Kazan residency of the gas company in the historical centre of Sukonnaya Settlement area started in the Tatarstan capital

‘For some reason, offices are concentrated in the centre’: new Gazprom HQ near Lake Kaban
Photo: video screenshot from rais.tatarstan.ru / realnoevremya.ru

Realnoe Vremya learnt details of the project for the construction of a new office of Gazprom transgaz Kazan on the bank of Lake Kaban, its draft was presented at a meeting of the Investment Council of the Republic of Tatarstan in late 2022. Read in our report more about the characteristics of the future buildings, planned investments in their construction and experts’ opinion about the feasibility and consequences of building a new high-rise in the capital’s historical area, Sukonnaya Settlement.

Following a related company’s project

The decision to build a high-rise office building of Gazprom transgaz Kazan on the territory of the former shoe factory Spartak near Lake Kaban was made even though it hadn’t been discussed either at the city’s urban engineering council or meetings of an intergovernmental commission on the development in historical settlements. The construction area was already cleaned and ready to start the works.

The project of the complex of buildings by Gasprojectengineering — an organisation that belongs to Gazprom through a number of affiliated companies — received the green light of a historical and cultural inspection.

An administration high-tech buildings consisting of four parts with different numbers of storeys for 162.3 million rubles on an area of 1.31ha is planned to be built near new IT Park. The office building with a monolith cement frame as foundation has a complex form and arched external walls.

An administration high-tech buildings consisting of four parts with different numbers of storeys for 162.3 million rubles on an area of 1.31ha is planned to be built near new IT Park. Photo: Dinar Fatykhov/realnoevremya.ru

The whole project envisages erecting 12 buildings including local treatment facilities for sewage, a sewage pump station, two transformer substations.

The highest part of the administration building is designed to have 16 storeys, another two parts will have 13 and 9 storeys, the fourth one will 2-3 storeys. The total rea of the administration building Is 9.0900 square metres, 680 employees are expected to work there.

To provide this complex with engineering infrastructure, 1.73km of networks (water supply, sewage, stormwater sewage, electricity supply, communications, heating supply).

All under one roof

The details of the project of the new building of Gazprom transgaz Kazan are strictly kept in secret. Several slides with pictures of the façade of the future gas office were briefly shown at a presentation of the project in late 2022 at a meeting of the Tatarstan Investment Council. The planned amount of major investments in the project was named there — 10 billion rubles. Gazprom transgaz Kazan plans to build its residency with its own money.

Presenting the project at the meeting of the Tatarstan Investment Council, Director General of the company Rustem Usmanov said:

“Besides our company Gazprom transgaz Kazan, this building is also going to accommodate Gazprom mezhregion Kazan, Gazprom gaznadzor, a branch of Gazprombank, a branch of SOGAZ and other Gazprom companies. There is also going to be a modern area for our consumers.”

Realnoe Vremya sent a request to the press service of Gazprom transgaz Kazan — we asked it to tell us about key technical and economic characteristics of the project, specify the number of parking lots of the complex where a lot of visitors will probably come every day, name approximate construction terms and if possible provide the blueprint of the grandiose building.

Opposition useless?

The secrecy of the project backfired: the project that hasn’t yet been offered to be considered by the urban engineering council and was briefly mentioned because of its neighbourhood with IT Park was criticised by part of the architecture community. Mainly because of the irrelevance of high-rises in the historical part of Kazan.

Also, there were expressed offers to locate the complex of buildings of Gazprom transgaz Kazan outside the city.

Time will show if the events in Kazan can unfold this way. However, during the meeting of the Tatarstan Investment Council Rustam Minnikhanov talked about plans to place high-rises of Gazprom transgaz Kazan in Sukonnaya Sloboda settlement: “We bought this territory, a part was used for IT Park, the other part of the territory is for the office of Gazprom.”

“Contrast is out of place here”

“There is a set of documents that envisage the conservation of the historical part of the city, there are development regulations in the panorama of Kazan regarding the number of floors and materials that must be used,” expert, architect Irina Aksyonova reminded us in a talk. “The essence of these documents as well as the essence of the attitude to the historical environment isn’t in neglecting these requirements but complying with them strictly. The construction of high-rises in this place is creating contrast, which is absolutely out of place here.”

Irina Aksyonova thinks that the location of a huge high-rise office building near Lake Kaban, which will become a point of attraction for numerous visitors and, consequently, for a big number of cars also creates prerequisites for a new transport collapse:

“Even if a multi-level parking area is built there, one will have to enter it. It means driveways will be needed, and this will create an additional car burden on this part of the city.”

“Exceptions destroy the historical identity”

“Local construction rules limit the number of storeys in this part of Kazan,” says head of the Department of Urban Engineering of Kazan State University for Architecture and Engineering Alexander Dembich. “And it is doubtful the project of the 16-storey building will be approved because its height is over 30 metres, and the development in this area is limited only to 21 metres.”

At the same time, he noted that higher buildings were already built nearby.

“There is a risk the more such buildings that destroy local urban engineering rules, the sooner we will lose the identity of this part of the city. There is such a risk. We constantly say: ‘Just for only facility, as an exception…’ But there are more and more exceptions of this kind. And then you see the line was crossed, the historical identity was lost. We have been saying for some 15 years that we gradually destroy the historical identity of this part of the city and continue doing this. Now, I think we have closely approached the bar when there will be nothing to save.”

As for the appearance of the new facility attracting car traffic, Alexander Dembich completely agrees with Irina Aksyonova:

“The transport network in this part is narrow, there is no place for extension. And one can drive there normally only at midday. Traffic jams at rush hour drag for hundreds of metres there.”

Well-forgotten good plan

Alexander Dembich was against the expansion of the network of offices in the centre of Kazan in general, regardless of the developer and those who open new office centres:

“There are already a lot of offices there, the number of employees is already huge, about 1.500 people. There is little housing, though it would be correct to be 3-4-storey houses them so that the city centre isn’t dead off hours.”

Photo: Dinar Fatykhov/realnoevremya.ru

The expert also reminded us about old good plans that though were approved at all levels:

“It would be good to set up a new business centre of Kazan at the old cargo port with no restrictions on the number of storeys. Tatarstan Rais Rustam Minnikhanov and architects have repeatedly said this. But this district for some reason is actively built up by houses, whereas offices have to be concentrated in the centre. And no matter what talks have been held about the mistake, this practice goes on.”

Inna Serova

Подписывайтесь на телеграм-канал, группу «ВКонтакте» и страницу в «Одноклассниках» «Реального времени». Ежедневные видео на Rutube, «Дзене» и Youtube.