Restaurateurs, commercial real estate specialists and politicians assessed the prospects for transforming the main bar streets of St. Petersburg (Dumskaya and Lomonosov) into a new cultural and gastronomic space. Such a project is being prepared by the administration of the Central District.
Experts do not support the idea of officials to completely destroy the cluster of drinking establishments on these streets – because of this, St. Petersburg may lose the status of the “bar capital” of Russia. However, they believe that the territory near Gostiny Dvor really needs to be transformed.
Food halls and exhibitions
The head of the Central District, Elena Fedorova, said earlier that the district administration is working to turn Dumskaya and Lomonosov streets into a cultural and gastronomic space. Now all the bars and clubs on these streets are closed. On the night of April 8, the Investigative Committee, together with police officers, came with searches in 13 local institutions. 10 of them were recognized as material evidence in a criminal case, so they were sealed. At the end of March, about twenty more bars were sealed on Dumskaya and Lomonosov streets.
As examples that officials are guided by when developing a new concept for bar streets, the official named the Vasileostrovsky market and the Vokzal 1853 food hall. However, according to her, exhibition spaces can dilute the restaurant component on Dumskaya and Lomonosov.
“The chaos had to end”
Restaurateur Andrey Pertsev (among his projects are bars, restaurants and the Balagan food hall) called this news good for the development of our city. “The lawlessness that was happening on Dumskaya sooner or later had to be ended. I’m glad that at least now this is happening, because you can’t have such debauchery and horror in the very center of the city, with counterfeit alcohol, drugs and balloons with “laughing gas,” he says. According to the entrepreneur, he personally and other well-known restaurateurs can take part in the discussion of the project for the transformation of bar streets, at early stages – conceptually, and then, when more specifics appear, consider launching new projects.
“The city center is a good location for opening a food hall, where all the main pedestrian, transport and tourist flows are concentrated. Therefore, not only residents of the city, but also tourists will be interested in the new space,” says Anna Lapchenko, head of retail real estate at NF Group in St. Petersburg. “If a food hall with interesting gastronomic concepts appears there, then with a high degree of probability the place will be popular and financially successful.”
Recall that very close to Dumskaya Street, in the department store “Big Gostiny Dvor” on an area of 1800 sq. m on the first and second floors along the Lomonosovskaya line, a food hall project from Ginza has been announced. “There will be enough solvent demand for two objects,” Anna Lapchenko is sure.
Legal bar and club cluster
Andrey Pertsev doubts that it is worth building a food hall on Dumskaya. In his opinion, this place is more promising for the creation of a civilized legal bar and club cluster. “The most understandable thing that can be done there is a club and bar movement, since there is no housing there. It will be a place to attract tourists and citizens,” he said. Andrey Pertsev emphasizes that there are bars on Dumskaya and Lomonosov that complied with all the norms of the law, and now they also “fell under distribution”. “These bars can become the core around which the rest of the mass will grow in the future. We need to attract four or five strong players there, who would set the vector for this space,” he adds.
The deputy, chairman of the specialized investment commission of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Dmitry Panov (New People faction) also opposes the liquidation of all bars. “Petersburg is unofficially called the “bar capital” of Russia, and the closure of all bars on Dumskaya Street may negatively affect the tourist attractiveness of this location. Different functions of cultural leisure, concentrated from one place, can seriously complement each other, creating the necessary synergistic effect,” he emphasizes. Dmitry Panov considers it expedient to leave part of the bar establishments on Dumskaya Street, provided that they operate legally and disciplined.
Need discounts and negotiations
One of the problems that the administration of the Central District will face is the lower profitability of the civilized restaurant business and exhibition spaces that officials want to attract to the bar streets.
According to NF Group in St. Petersburg, the average rental rate on Dumskaya Street is 3-5 thousand rubles per sq. m. m depending on the location. For art galleries, such a rental price is considered high; on average, their demand is focused on sites with a rate of 1.5-2 thousand rubles per square meter. m. Despite the fact that food halls are considered a more profitable business, their rental rates are also at the level of 1.5 thousand rubles per sq. m. m.
“As for the discount on rent, the city has the opportunity to provide it only for those objects that belong to it. In lease agreements, they can regulate the profile of the tenant’s activities, the areas occupied by him. But bars, like food halls, are catering establishments, with the only difference being that they cannot sell alcohol. And if it is forbidden to rent premises to public catering establishments, then whatever the cultural concept, it will not be so popular with the public without a gastronomic history,” Anna Lapchenko is sure.
The expert notes that the authorities, if they wish, can lease premises in city ownership only to a certain profile of tenants directly, and in case of violations, withdraw them and terminate the lease agreement. “This is the only way they can influence the business profile, but here, given our legislation and constantly changing regulations, it will be very risky for businesses to invest in a site where they will be constantly under the gun of administrative authorities, and any violation carries the risk of eviction and loss of invested funds. . I doubt that such a decision will resonate with restaurateurs. However, the city can attract them with a low rental rate,” believes the head of retail real estate NF Group in St. Petersburg.
Currently, aggregator sites have posted only one advertisement for the rental of real estate on Dumskaya Street, house number 9. “The premises are located on the ground floor of a non-residential building on the legendary Dumskaya Street! Opportunity to work 24/7 without noise restrictions,” the object’s description says. A realtor from RBM Group explained that it belongs to a private owner, as well as neighboring premises.
Deputy Dmitry Panov sees a way out of this situation by exchanging privately owned premises for city ones elsewhere. “As for the legal side of the issue – how to force private owners of commercial premises to rent them only to tenants that meet the criteria approved by the city government – the city today has enough real estate resources that, with a very high degree of probability, can satisfy the current owners in terms of further exchange” , – the deputy believes.