A shop for a young millionaire, appendix to the Kommersant issue 196(3772) of 25.10.2007

Until recently there was only one loft design in Moscow (apartments that include elements of industrial design); the residential complex in the former Red October factory. However, while this conversion is being prepared, another project was launched in the historical centre of Moscow that will also offer loft apartments; it is the Art House residential complex on the Yauza embankment.

The Art House project is being implemented by State Development, a developer known in the market for having successfully completed a number of exclusive and very expensive projects offering both residential and office real estate. Among the most famous ones within the golden mile area are the residential complex at 2nd Zachatyevsky lane 13, the residential complex at Molochny lane 4, the Victoria residential complex at Pozharsky lane 5a, and the class A office block at Pozharsky lane 15. A number of projects have been outside the Ostozhenka lanes so it would be incorrect to say that the developer decided to abandon the area that has already become tradition for top class projects. However, this time State Development is implementing a project with a completely new offering for the Moscow real estate market.

Unlike a classic conversion of industrial structures, the Art House is designed as a residential complex. The design developed by Sergey Skuratov’s studio over a period of several years has already made a splash in the architectural circles and has received several awards. The architectural solutions employed in the new complex are indeed quite unusual. The style is a modern take on the industrial design. The new buildings are not going to look like a late 19th century industrial shops, the way some business centres in different parts of Moscow do. Rather their appearance could be best described as that of a concept production facility of the future as an industrial revolution era futurologist might have imagined one. The artistic design became known in the professional circles as architectural-sculptural. And it has to be said that the appearance of the new complex is really thought out in every detail; the “shifting” roof of the second building, leaning uneven walls, panoramic windows...

The complex will comprise two buildings, one facing the Serebryanicheskaya embankment of the Yauza and the other situated along Tessinsky lane. The buildings will be connected with a promenade paved with clinker bricks.

The ground floors will house an art gallery, a restaurant and possibly art studios. The residential aspect of the complex fully conforms to the club real estate format. Building A will only have 12 apartments. Apart from huge apartments with areas over 200 square metres, it will also have a few small ones with areas of only 80 square metres. Building B will have 18 apartments with floor areas ranging from 100 to 250 square metres.

Despite the club format of the complex, its underground section will house a two-level parking garage for 109 vehicles. The parking garage will have two sections so both the residents and their guests will be able to park their vehicles there. In any case such a large parking lot in a residential complex with a relatively small number of apartments obviously assumes a high social status of the residents who are expected to have several cars each.

The main distinguishing feature of the apartments in the Art House is the ceiling height, which is quite impressive in most of the apartments ranging from 3.8 to 5.1 metres in the standard apartments and from 9.0 to 10.3 metres in the penthouses. The space created by such high ceilings can deservedly be likened to an industrial shop. On the Moscow market of high end real estate this will be an absolutely unique offering.

According to the realtor company Mayfair Properties, sales will begin in the near future. Several apartments and two penthouses will be offered on the market. So far there have been no official statements from the developer about the pricing policy, however it is expected that the penthouses will probably set a new record in the elite real estate market.

In any case the price range will probably be huge. Yet, taking into account the height of the ceilings and the potential for creating a two or a three level penthouse which will at least double the total floor area, any price becomes quite attractive. This offer is really unique and is in a class of its own.

The surrounding buildings in the area are quite varied ranging from historical churches, urban estates and tenements to soviet era structures among which there are some industrial blocks. Thus the famous bell tower church in Serebryaniki can be seen from the location of the complex, directly adjacent to the lot is an eclectic late 19th century town house while on the opposite bank of the Yauza stands a classic 12-storey wall bearing tower, one of those that are rare but not unheard of in the historical part of the city. At the same time the classic industrial structures of the former Electric Wire plant are within a walking distance of the complex.

For a loft that by definition is supposed to break away from all standards and inhibitions, such a diversity of views can actually be considered an advantage. Obviously, the location was chosen deliberately; locations with such degree of architectural variety are hard to come by in central Moscow. And yet it should be expected that some potential buyers will probably be turned off by this visual eclecticism. After all, living in a house deliberately made to look like an industrial shop and having a real industrial facility outside one’s window are two different things

Recently the construction of a number of other expensive residential buildings began in the vicinity of the Art House. However, due to its concept and location in Tessinsky lane, the complex does not have any direct competition. One could find a high end apartment in the area, for example in the Chocolate building in Teterinsky lane. However, even though the Chocolate offers a fire place in every apartment, five metre ceilings are out of the question. The same can be said about the Aquamarine complex, which, like the Art House, is located next to the river and whose windows also look out on both historical houses and industrial blocks. And yet, the competition that is closest to the complex in Tessinsky lane in geographical terms is not in the same league. While they too are unusual in their own way, they, nonetheless, fit in with the more or less traditional real estate format, while the Art House caters to the kind of customer seeking for absolutely unique offerings.

At the moment the project is at the stage of site preparation. It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2009.

Valentin Kornev

Art House Residential Complex
Address: Tessinsky lane 2, 9/16

Number of floors: 5-6
Number of apartments: 28
Floor area of apartments (square metres): 80-250
Number of parking spaces: 109
To be commissioned in: first quarter of 2009

Project features
_ unique offering in the elite real estate market;
_ well thought out architectural design;
_ high ceilings;
_ good views in spite of a relatively low height of the buildings.