“No two demolitions are alike”
Partner, Head of Real Estate and Investments Practice, Dmitry Nekrestyanov participates in an expert discussion of buildings demolition features in the historical center of St. Petersburg.
Almost any project involving demolition or even partial buildings dismantling in the historical part of St. Petersburg is associated with serious problems for the developer. They are explained not only by city rights defenders’ activities, but also by federal legislation imperfection.
Participants of the discussion «Demolition Story» tried to figure out how to properly demolish buildings in St. Petersburg, which was organized by the editorial of the Real Estate and Construction of St. Petersburg newspaper and the NSP website together with the State Construction Supervision Service within the NSP Discussion Club.
Head of State Construction Supervision Vladimir Boldyrev explained that federal legislation clearly separates demolition of the building only (in this case, the owner of the building notifies the Service, which coordinates the dismantling, about the dismantling) and its demolition for the purposes of subsequent construction. In the second case, buildings demolition should be part of a new construction project. But many developers, in order to save time, notify about demolition of the building not mentioning further planned construction, working on a new project at the same time. If the Service reveals this, such owner behavior will be considered illegal, developers are threatened with fines.
In addition, in the center of St. Petersburg, besides monuments which are under special rule forces, there are historical buildings that cannot be demolished either — only emergency structures can be disassembled, and all work must be approved by the KGIOP. If a historic building is dismantled in violation of procedures, the law requires its complete restoration then, regardless of the value and location. Demolition of non-historical buildings must also be coordinated with the KGIOP if they are located next to historical ones.
According to the Head of Real Estate and Investments Practice, Dmitry Nekrestyanov, often the approval procedures are so long and complex, the legislation is contradictory or imperfect, that it is cheaper for a developer to disassemble the building and pay a fine: “The total amount of other fines, for example, from the Ministry of Emergency Situations for the absence of a fire alarm in an old building or compensation for collapsed structures damaging someone’s property or health, can easily exceed the amount of sanctions for disassembling a building with violations. The notification procedure during demolition is not what it is — if the developer submits a notification, but at the same time is waiting for the approval of these works, then this is not a notification procedure, but, in fact, a permissive one».
The participants talked about the difficulties through case histories. In addition to legislative difficulties, the political component was often mentioned — many projects related to old buildings demolition were stopped not because of legal problems, but solely because of the political authorities’ will. There are so many problems in this segment that the participants do not exclude the possibility of a new business emergence — legal and physical cleaning of the site for its subsequent sale to developers.
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