Moscow has implemented a new program to restore its historic landmarks that is easy on the government’s pocket.It will auction the buildings off to investors, who can rent them for a symbolic annual sum of one ruble (about three cents) per square meter, as long as they completely restore the buildings “to look as they did in the 18th and 19th century,” Kommersant reports.
The first auction on two city-owned mansions and an apartment building were held last week, and a further 244 buildings will follow suit. Renters will get a 49-year lease on the buildings and pay market rate rent ($470,000 to $682,000) until they are restored. They have five years to do so. After that, rent will be slashed to one ruble per square meter for the remainder of the lease.
Restoration could cost from $2,500 to $10,000 per square meter, developer MR Group told Kommersant, equal to anywhere from 4 to 15 years of rent. Moscow’s Heritage Commission said they have 50 bids from potential investors.
While similar programs have been instituted in Italy, France, and Norway, real estate experts are sceptical due to legal limits on renovations of historic properties and the size of the investment required. The architecture watchdog Arkhnadzor also said it might be difficult to open an office or a hotel in such buildings due to legal restrictions, The Moscow News reports.
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