A serious battle broke out in the cultural space of St. Petersburg. The object of the claims of several large financial groups was the Stables Department – a vast territory in the heart of the city. But not only legal business claims the pearl of ancient architecture. According to sources, one of the claimers is Kirasa Invest, which represents the interests of the Tambovskaya OCG and its now serving a prison term leader, Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin.
For several years now, Smolny has vowed to determine the fate of the Stables Department (Konyushennoe Vedomstvo). The reconstruction of this cultural heritage site has been hanging on the neck of the city administration for about 10 years. During this time, several major developers took up the monument of the Petrine era, but the cart, as they say, is still there. Affected by the similarity of projects of potential investors, and the volume of the project, which may lead to a deficit in the city budget. The city administration still does not know what the agreement of the city with the investor will look like. There are several options: concession, that is, public-private partnership, or a system of investment agreements.
In addition, it will be necessary to reconstruct not only the Stables Department, but also the buildings adjacent to it, which are part of the historical complex. And this is almost a quarter. Also, at the request of the Committee on State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Landmarks of Saint Petersburg (KGIOP), the future investor will have to restore the premises in the courtyard – two three-story buildings and two one-story fodder sheds demolished by the predecessor.
The Konyushenny Dvor is a complex of buildings on Konyushennaya Square in St. Petersburg. The building in the style of the “second baroque”, whose facade faces the square, was occupied by the Stable Museum in the 19th century. The building of the former master yard of the complex is located on the corner of Konyushennaya Square and the embankment of the Griboedov Canal. Inside the complex, there were stables and crew sheds.
Residents of St. Petersburg, in whose interests, of course, all this is being done, expressed their will unambiguously. The survey, initiated by the Committee on Investments and the Committee on Culture, showed that Petersburg residents want to see here options for creating a museum, exhibition venue and concert hall. However, for most investors, the appetites are exclusively commercial.
The saga with the reconstruction of the imperial stables began in 2010 at the initiative of Governor Valentina Matvienko. Then an agreement was signed on the transfer of buildings to the financial structure of the Plaza Lotus Group (PLG) of the Zingarevich brothers. It was planned to open a large apart-hotel in the building. But city defenders entered a cruel clinch and secured the cancellation of the contract.
The financial group had to return the Stables Department to the city, and the city had to pay investors for already invested 1.2 billion rubles ($18.4 mln), having given several plots in different parts of the city for development. The following candidates for reconstruction, the Tandem Estate and management company Start Development, reached only the stage of negotiations. Tandem Estate proposed the restoration of demolished buildings with their further cultural and historical use as an art cluster. Zakhar Smushkin's company Start Development proposed to turn an architectural monument into a museum of modern art with an underground floor and parking.
Plaza Lotus Group estimated the volume of investments in the reconstruction of 13.5 thousand square meters of the Stables Department at 6.5 billion rubles ($100mln). The Tandem Estate company estimated investments at 2 billion rubles ($30.7mln). The estimated budget for the Start Development project was 1.9 billion rubles ($29mln), plus 1 billion ($15.3mln) for emergency operations.
Unexpectedly, at the end of June this year, another applicant came to the picture. This is a little-known company Kirasa Invest. Representatives of the company turned to the Investment Committee of St. Petersburg with a statement on the conclusion of a concession agreement on a new type of use of the building of the Stables Department. It is noteworthy that the company Kirasa Invest was founded only at the end of May 2019 and literally immediately decided to take up the largest investment project in St. Petersburg.
As it became known to the media, Kirasa Invest belongs to businessman Andrey Koshkin. The entrepreneur has the notorious Yard group, which is famous for having built the Yard Residence business-class apartment complex at the intersection of Alexander Nevsky and Khersonskaya streets. The construction was nervous and scandalous. During the construction, the project was repeatedly revised, and the deadlines were postponed. The complex was commissioned late for a year and a half.
Now Yard is going to conclude a concession agreement with the city and invest from 3 to 5 billion rubles ($46-76.7mln) in the project of the Stables Department. However, St. Petersburg business circles are seriously worried that the group owner Andrey Koshkin does not have such assets that he could invest in such a capital-intensive project. Most likely, this is third-party money.
Another oddity of the unexpected appearance of Andrey Koshkin is that earlier the businessman was engaged exclusively in commercial projects and was not interested in the reconstruction of historical monuments. The latter is an extremely costly and not always grateful business. In addition, Kirasa Invest has not yet presented to the public any specific plans for a future project. City defenders are already worried that investors will try again to push the concept of remaking the Stables Department into an apart-hotel.
Meanwhile, rumors spread around the city that the Stables Department renovation project did not belong to businessman Koshkin at all. The money for the implementation of the plan belongs to none other than the "night governor" of St. Petersburg Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin.
While developers are developing concepts, historic buildings continue to collapse. In 2017–2018 alone, the city invested 260 million rubles ($4mln) in emergency response operations at the Stable Department.
Meanwhile, rumors spread around the city that the Stables renovation project did not belong to businessman Koshkin at all. The money for its implementation belongs to none other than St. Petersburg 'Night Governor' Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin.
An offer one cannot refuse
Nobody knows about how much money is now available in the treasury of the Tambovskaya organized criminal group. But everyone knows that Vladimir Kumarin-Barsukov is not a poor person. Money should make money, and Kum since the dashing 90s tried to transfer everything that was "earned" by hard work to legal rails. Investing in real estate is not only modern, but also profitable in every sense.
If in the late 90s a criminal group conducted its business in the manner of American mafiosi – extorting money, “protecting” businessmen, collecting tribute from shops, cafes and restaurants, then in the 2000s its sphere of interests included importing office equipment, exporting wood, oil refining and other large businesses. According to sources, the Tambovskaya OCG owns such financial institutions as Rossiya Bank, Tetrapolis Bank, and the St. Petersburg branch of Neftegazstroybank.
The fact that the Tambovskaya members are trying to expand their assets and are very interested in placing them in the historical center of St. Petersburg is also evidenced by the fact that some time ago the Tambov business group put a hand on squeezing out one of the largest billionaires in Russia Oleg Deripaska from the Apraksin Dvor project.
As we previously wrote, the Tambovskaya members want to regain their lost ground in the city, including control of the Apraksin Dvor. Once this object was also included in the scope of their interests. In the late 80s and early 90s, the commercial center Peter was the only company that received contracts for organizing the largest markets of the city – Apraksin Dvor, Sennaya Ploshchad, Sennoy Market. This company belonged to the Tambovskaya organized criminal group. A certain concern Peter is still present among the owners of the buildings located in Apraksin Dvor, and moreover, it has submitted an application to Smolny for the reconstruction of Apraksin Dvor. A year ago, this application made a lot of noise in the media.
In this regard, it seems logical to make an investment through a businessman who already took part in construction projects, that is Andrey Koshkin. Whether such marriages happen is not yet known, because Smolny has not yet made a final decision who the Stables Department will be entrusted to.