St. Petersburg and the federal developer – Akvilon Group of Companies – is a rather rare example when the developer is spinning in the historical center of the city, where construction is a very specific thing. Hence, the company’s PR is rather ambiguous. Let’s talk about examples, including the expulsion of Akvilon from the elite Petrogradsky district.
This spring, the head office of Akvilon Group of Companies moved to the Admiralteisky district of St. Petersburg, to the Akvilon LINKS business center of 12 floors. We emphasize – from 12 floors, yes, in the very center of the northern capital! On Parfenovskaya street. Buildings of this kind do not violate the Smolny high-altitude regulations, but, in the opinion of many, they look foreign. However, this is pure taste. It should be noted that the company’s PR articles for the St. Petersburg inhabitant were prepared in the following style: “The business center building was built in accordance with the E4 concept from the Aquilon Group, which is based on four main principles: energy efficiency, ergonomics, environmental friendliness and cost savings for owners.”
Restrictions arose under tsarism
The high-altitude regulation of St. Petersburg was invented under tsarism. It was forbidden to build buildings higher than the Alexander Pillar (Alexander Column), which was erected on the Palace Square in 1834 by the architect Auguste Montferrand. The height is 47.5 meters, which is quite a lot even in modern times. And houses, both private and state-owned, should not exceed this dominant, which is now on the balance sheet of the Hermitage.
So, in the middle of the 2000s, the construction bosses of the second capital paid attention to the center of St. Petersburg. And Akvilon, perhaps, then worked correctly. Including mastered the Moscow region, which is not a historical center, but the center of an alternative Leningrad style under the “Stalinist” Moscow. Fellow builders, actively developing the young outskirts of St. Petersburg, even nicknamed “Aquilon” “hunters of antiquities.” Let’s give examples.
Bay view bites
Most experts note the Akvilon ZALIVE residential complex on the alluvium of Vasilyevsky Island. First, actually because on alluvium. Secondly, a rather original architectural solution: the residential complex consists of five 13-story “smart” houses with a common courtyard, the design is author’s, the houses stand in a kind of ledge, like a rock in the sea. Prices bite – the same studios from six million rubles. But what a view of the bay. However, the alluvial territories on Vaska will only develop, and over the years the gorgeous view can be lost “behind the neighbors”, which has already happened to many new settlers of the island.
We also note the 4YOU residential complex in the Moskovsky district, one of the most prestigious in St. Petersburg. Pretty original. Not far away, Aquilon Leaves is being built near the Zvezdnaya metro station, and the Promenade residential complex near the Frunzenskaya metro station in the Admiralteisky district stands out. Although many do not like it, because the complex literally crushed the elite and stylish houses of the past era on Moskovsky Prospekt – “Stalinist”. But the LCD looks impressive – no one will argue with that. And about prices – studios go from 8 million. The cost of a four-room apartment starts from 40 million rubles…
In fairness, Akvilon is also entering the outskirts of the city, as well as the Leningrad Region. Here the complex in Kudrovo (Vsevolozhsk district) attracts attention.
Of course, by agreement with the city, Akvilon will also commission social facilities this year and next – 7 kindergartens and 5 secondary schools. Some will be hybrid – in one building and a garden, and a school. They will not be located on a separate territory, but directly in the company’s residential complexes.
This year Akvilon celebrates its 20th anniversary – it was founded in 2003. This is for the St. Petersburg construction market, so to speak, the middle age. But this is not exactly a midlife crisis – the pace of construction has been growing in recent years. As a result, over twenty years the company has erected 8 residential complexes for 23 houses specifically in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, at the moment 7 residential complexes of 19 houses are being built. And across the country, 67 houses have already been built in 39 residential complexes, 53 houses are being built in 23 residential complexes.
Unfortunately, the phone number of the press service could not be found on the official website of the company, perhaps because it simply does not exist. This makes it difficult for Akvilon to work with the media, and for the media to work with Akvilon. However, advertising materials about the company appear, but this is still a different genre.
As for the opinion of the people, but there are not so many opinions on the network. Because Akvilon is not a mass developer and salesman. As we noted, the company lays claim to the gold meters of St. Petersburg, including alluvial ones. Hence the gold prices, which most Petersburgers cannot afford.
Conflict with Makarov?
As for the authorities of the second capital, they just noticed the expansion of Akvilon in the context of the city center. The most scandalous case began in 2016, when Akvilon Invest acquired, again in the central district – Petrogradsky – a plot at the corner of Lodeynopolskaya and Petrozavodskaya streets. And immediately began to build a residential building. However, soon the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, headed by Speaker Vyacheslav Makarov, included the construction site in the list of green spaces in the city, which, according to city law, cannot be built up. Akvilon challenged this decision in court, but lost. In many respects, this was influenced by the expert opinion of the State Construction Supervision Authority, which discovered numerous violations during construction, which concerned damage from the construction of neighboring houses, and initiated administrative proceedings. In 2018, the developer had to return the money to equity holders and pay a fine of 600 thousand rubles. As the company then admitted, the total losses on this project exceeded 1 billion.
And what does Makarov, now a federal official, have to do with it? The fact is that in political Petersburg it is no secret that Petrogradka is the patrimony of the former speaker of the Legislative Assembly and his large family. In the Petrogradsky district, he started as a municipality, then from him he became a deputy of the city parliament, he really has authority among people. Naturally, they say that over the years he has acquired business interests. And allegedly he did not allow other people’s “wrong” developers to enter his land, who disfigure the unique area with their “creations”. It is no coincidence that already in 2019 Makarov actually stopped the construction of the remake on Bolshaya Raznochinny Street. As if, at the request of the workers, that is, the inhabitants of Petrogradka, rooting for their area.
Back to Akvilon. The company then understood everything correctly and never again claimed the Petrogradsky district. But in the center of St. Petersburg there are other areas with golden meters. As you can see, in the Admiralteysky and Moskovsky districts, the developer succeeds.