Moscow Real Estate Forum (MREF) of the business newspaper Vedomosti is a landmark meeting for key players of the Russian real estate market. The annual forum gathers the most influential representatives of the industry to discuss topical business problems.
On Wednesday, 25 October 2017, in the conference hall of the Lotte Hotel in Moscow, the top representatives of the construction industry of the Moscow region gathered to begin MREF-2017. “Where the Renovation Will Lead” took place immediately after the plenary session. Participants included the largest Russian constructors and developers as well as the deputy mayor for urban development policy and construction, Marat Khusnullin.
Yevgeny Arbuzov, a partner and the head of the Real Estate and Construction Practice of ART DE LEX, took part in the most important discussions of MREF-2017, as did the head of the department of town-planning policy and construction of Moscow, Sergey Levkin, the investment director of the City-XXI Century, Sergey Notin, the managing partner of Osnova, Oleg Kolchenko, a partner of the Khimki Group, Dmitry Kotrovsky, the general director of MIEL-Novostroiki, Natalia Shatalina, and the deputy general director of KROST, Marina Lubelskaya.
In his speech during the forum titled “Where the renovation will lead,” Yevgeny Arbuzov noted that Moscow renovation is more civilized and milder than similar programs in Europe and the US. “However, reading the main parts of the documents, we can conclude that the Moscow Renovation Fund (MRF), at the legislative level, has exceptionally comfortable, literally ‘heavenly’ conditions for the construction industry: budgetary funds, free land plots, simplified orders of urban development, a special tax regime, simplified technical regulations, etc."
In fact, the MRF is a local state corporation that enjoys opportunities and rights, primarily in the market, that other participants do not have. Yevgeny Arbuzov suggested that, when renovations are involved, it is logical to offer a special regime to all conscientious market participants who win an open transparent competition. If this does not happen, the MRF could be in violation of 135-FZ "On the protection of competition," and FAS Russia could file charges against it, as it would any other market participant.
The head of the Department of Urban Development Policy and Construction of Moscow, Sergey Levkin, counterbalanced the doubts of Yevgeny Arbuzov and other participants in the session, explaining to the audience that the purpose of the fund is to solve a big and important social problem. Special conditions are necessary for the MFR, not for the sake of commerce and profit but for speeding up the renovation process in Moscow. Sergey Levkin concluded his remarks on a major note: “Let's meet in 5-6 years and see how it turned out to be fully transparent.”