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Mayor stresses most residents support Moscow’s renovation program

May 31, 13:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In 2017, Vladimir Putin has ordered Moscow mayor Sobyanin to tear down the so-called ‘Khrushchevki’ - five-story apartment blocks - constructed in the 1950s and 1960s under Soviet leader Khrushchev

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© Artiom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Most residents of Soviet-era low-rise apartment blocks set to be demolished in Moscow over the next 10-15 years support the city’s so-called renovation program, the capital’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said in an interview with TASS.

"The owners of 44% of apartments in the buildings put on the demolition list have already cast their votes and 90% of residents support the program," Sobyanin said. "We have several dozen buildings whose residents voted against it."

In the beginning of 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Sobyanin to tear down the so-called ‘Khrushchevki’ - five-story apartment blocks - constructed to ease the acute housing problem in the 1950s and 1960s under Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

The residents of the demolished low-rise housing units will be offered to move into new apartment blocks. The total scale of the renovation program will be clear once the voting is wrapped up in mid-summer. According to preliminary estimates, the capital is set to renovate over 25 million square meters of real estate, or ten percent of its housing projects, within the next 10-15 years.

The resettlement program will be financed from the city’s budget and will require some 300 bln rubles ($5 bln) in the first three years.

Sobyanin said each owner will be offered two or three options for resettlement.

"We are taking into account preferences if possible. But it’s not that easy. This is an apartment block, not a supermarket with a wide range of goods," the mayor stressed.

He said an apartment building can be excluded from the renovation program if the majority (two-thirds) of property owners vote against resettlement.

According to the mayor, new apartment blocks will range anywhere from 6-14 stories.

"Our task is to turn these residential blocks into comfortable areas for living and working," he said.

"Some apartments will be meant for resettlement and others will be offered for sale to offset the budget outlays. Therefore, we need to create a comfortable environment. Otherwise, no one will buy these apartments," he added.

Sobyanin also assured that there would be no utility hikes in the new apartment blocks.

"The new houses will have a pleasant design, elevators (the old low-rises have no elevators) and will be accessible for people with disabilities," the mayor stressed.

He added that city authorities had no plans to invite foreign developers to build these apartment blocks.

Sobyanin also said the renovation program may freeze or even slightly reduce Moscow real estate prices, considered to be one of the world’s most expensive.

Some 4,500 old low-rises with 1.6 mln residents are currently slated for demolition. The Russian State Duma, the parliament’s lower house, is currently discussing a draft law to outline all aspects of the resettlement program. The bill will undergo its second reading on June 9.

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