in the Old Town it will be possible to build a house

The place where it is proposed to restore the quarter of Old Narva is now just a large clearing with the remains of foundations, adjacent to the Town Hall Square.Photo: Nikolay Andreev

On May 10 in Narva, the first working meeting was held to draw up a detailed plan for one of the quarters in the Old Town of Narva. In what is now just a large clearing at the Town Hall Square, three activists proposed to rebuild 16 old houses and have been actively “selling” this idea to the city authorities and investors ever since.

The restoration of the Old Town or its individual buildings in Narva has been discussed to no avail almost since the destruction of historical buildings during and after the Second World War. In 2020, adjunct professor in economics, business coach Peter Zashev, head of the Narva industrial park Vadim Orlov, and a well-known guide and teacher in Narva Alexander Openko proposed to rebuild one quarter of the Old Town adjacent to the Town Hall Square.

City officials began detailed planning last year, after the initiators of the district’s restoration collected more than 1,400 signatures from citizens in support of their idea. After that, the city found a company through a competition, which began to draw up a new detailed layout of the site.

On Wednesday, May 10, representatives of the designer, city authorities and initiators of the idea held the first working meeting. Peter Zashev said that, in general, the idea found support, for the first time it is moving into practice, and now it is necessary to look for compromises between the authorities, residents and the authors of the idea.

“In fact, the discussion was about how to start, what needs to be done,” Zashev tells Business Vedomosti. – From the very first moment it was clear that there would be compromises. We are not some princes and princesses – what we said will be. No, on the contrary, on the whole, it is very positive that discussions are going on, as a result of these discussions, ideas are emerging.”

The idea of ​​Zashev, Orlov and Openko is that the tourist could find himself in the urban environment, as it was in 1940. 16 newly built buildings – one street and two more small streets – should look like before, but the buildings are supposed to be built using modern materials, and not recreated according to old recipes.

Peter Zashev is an enthusiast of the Old Narva projectPhoto: Personal archive

In order to make the construction of the quarter possible, Peter Zashev initially also proposed to resettle one Khrushchev building, which, of course, could only be done with the consent of all members of the apartment association.

“If I have, roughly speaking, 30 million in my pocket, I can tell the residents of Khrushchev – we will build a new, beautiful and beautiful house for you a hundred meters away, you will receive the same apartments, only new ones. But since no one has 30 million, no matter how much they want to do something with them, they [хрущевки] stay where they were.”

The city is waiting for investors

Although the city authorities have begun detailed planning of the block, its restoration at city expense is not even discussed. The city will sell plots in it to investors – if any are found – with the obligation to build a house on the site the same as it looked in the 40th year. Previously, Peter Zashev called St. Petersburg the main place from where investors can come to Old Narva.

“We had three conversations (with investors) that ended, on the whole, positively,” says Zashev. – We can say that there is a preliminary interest. But here it is important to understand that investors cannot be approached until we have a detailed planning, which is now beginning. It is very important, because investors need to understand: here is the plot, here is the house, here are the expectations from it – do you want to, can you build?

Unfortunately, we must also understand that we spoke with investors even before the start of the war. War does not help in this regard. But before the war, we had a preliminary interest in 3 out of 16 houses, people asked very specific questions.”

But Zashev does not lose optimism and emphasizes that the construction of the quarter is finally being discussed not over a glass of beer, but quite officially.

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