In the South Urals, the arrival of a large investor is increasingly being discussed: a well-known online store plans to build a logistics center in the region. The base site can be Miass, which has the status of the territory of advanced socio-economic development (TASED). As you know, its residents are entitled to tax breaks and preferences, which is very attractive for the largest player. However, his plans unexpectedly ran into a protest from the residents of the monotown.
The investment is tempting
Conversations about the interest of a well-known online store in the territory began several months ago. In early November, a representative delegation from Chelyabinsk arrived to present the project at a meeting of the public chamber of the Miass city district, Vice-Governor Vyacheslav Mosharov was accompanied by colleagues from the regional government. First Deputy Minister of Economic Development Irina Akbasheva tried to demonstrate the advantages of the arrival of an investor, whose turnover exceeded 220 billion rubles in 2019. Potentially, it was said in the presentation, this is not just about the construction of a logistics complex – it should become part of a large technopark, where everything that is sold on the marketplace will be produced. The total investment is estimated at 2.5 billion rubles, according to forecasts, 2,500 jobs will be created with a minimum wage of 30 thousand rubles. In the conditions of unemployment that has increased due to the pandemic, this is a significant argument.
In addition to direct investments, indirect advantages are also mentioned: the project will affect the service sector, because contractors and other workers involved in production will have to be fed, and new hotels for visitors will have to be built. All this is thought to diversify the mono-economy of Miass, reduce its dependence on the automotive industry, and allow the city economy to develop in a multifaceted and harmonious manner. Investors do not stand in line, there is a constant hunt for them, the Deputy Minister stressed, urging the townspeople to take the opportunity.
– This is the first time we met such a serious partner. Don’t miss this chance for our children! – one of the local deputies emotionally urged colleagues to support the project.
Small business has also seen new horizons for the Ural hinterland.
– I am categorically in favor, – said Anastasia Volkova, representing the city carpentry workshops. – I am sure that the company and the city administration will build this technopark. Then we will have a new opportunity to retain young people, develop tourism, education, and healthcare.
However, a number of entrepreneurs agreed with the strategic concept with a proviso: if the new building is not within the city, but somewhere on the outskirts.
With the trucks out of the way
The real movie started in December. A video appeal to the federal authorities was recorded by a group of Miass activists who saw the “reverse side of the coin” – a possible traffic collapse after the arrival of an online retailer. The townspeople were outraged that the logistics center is supposed to be built in the center. Such a location, they said, would turn city life into a nightmare, and the bell had already rang.
At the November session of the meeting of deputies, the city portal informed, the people’s deputies discussed the issue of changing the uses and boundaries of the territory in the area of the Turgoyak highway in the northern part of Miass. The site is located in several zones: water protection, communal storage, agricultural, urban and regional highways and others. It was proposed to transfer the land to the industrial category. It is clear that the normative “zeroing” occurred for a reason, and this greatly alerted the townspeople.
A group of Miass activists saw the “flip side of the coin” – a possible traffic collapse due to congestion of the road network after the arrival of an online retailer
The authors of the video message supplemented it with figures: the traffic flow on the main city highway will increase by 600 trucks per day. If an online store occupies a site in an industrial zone, a few stops from the Ural automobile plant, such traffic intensity will bring many problems: one truck every one and a half minutes is too much. And it doesn’t matter in which direction the cargo flows are directed: to the north – you cannot bypass Mashgorodok, to the south – to the central and old parts of the city.
The Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport of the Chelyabinsk Region Stanislav Kharchenko noted earlier that it is planned to repair the road from Miass to the federal highway M5 within two years. The next stage is the withdrawal of heavy trucks outside the city. True, the official specified, the project is expensive and is being coordinated at the federal level. But even if everything goes like clockwork, the residents of Miass do not really know where the backup route will be located: there is simply no place to lay a separate road to the warehouses, the city is sandwiched between the Ilmensky ridge and the Miass River.
Doubts about the rationality of the road scheme and a number of experts who call the plan a logistical absurdity. Delivering Chinese goods to Yekaterinburg and Tyumen via Miass means carrying them in the opposite direction. And in general, such centers are being built near or at the crossroads of existing highways, and not where they are only planned. The owner of the largest online retailer hardly knows this.
Probably, disputes could have been avoided if the new building had “moved” outside the city limits, closer to the Moscow M5 highway. But, apparently, investments in the arrangement of an uninhabited place are not included in the investor’s plans.
Shadow of the future
The protest of the townspeople did not go unnoticed, the Miass prosecutor’s office reacted to it. Natalya Mamaeva, senior assistant to the head of the supervisory agency in the region, noted: an assessment of the legality of the provision of a land plot for construction will be given.
After such a cool meeting, surprised by the inhospitality of the residents of the South Ural province, the press service of the potential investor published a polite response, in which it stated that the public opinion would be taken into account, although the construction of each complex is a significant support of local entrepreneurs. As an example, one of the regions was cited where a distribution center was opened, due to which the sales of products from local manufacturers increased six times, and residents were pleased with the speed of delivery of inexpensive and affordable goods. For this reason, today, the company noted, dozens of proposals for the location of logistics centers in various regions of the country are under consideration. And there probably people do not break down like in Miass. So, probably, an investor, offended, can change his mind.
Chelyabinsk political scientist Alexander Podoprigora drew attention to one oddity: the online store is in no hurry to publicly announce its intentions, let alone create a roadmap. This is a unique case when a change in the status of urban land is discussed for a specific project, but no one has seen the project itself.
The federal government recently approved a package of projects, under which agreements are now being concluded to protect and promote investment. There is, for example, a future omnichannel trade center for an online store in Tatarstan worth five billion rubles (the first stage was solemnly opened back in August). But not a word about Miass.
– Project documentation and an application for the allocation of a land plot for the location of a logistics center have not been received by the administration of the Miass city district, – the head of the municipality Grigory Tonkikh answered the request of RG.
The mayor also said that “currently the question of the possibility of implementing the investment project … is under discussion.” At the same time, “Miass is considered as one of the possible sites for the location of a logistics center in the Chelyabinsk region due to the availability of free industrial areas and the convenience of location near a large metropolis.”
But, as it turned out, the primary document on cooperation still exists, about which RG was informed in the Entrepreneurship Development Fund of the Chelyabinsk Region, which is under the comprehensive support of the project. “The company and the government of the Chelyabinsk region, as well as the Miass administration have signed a preliminary framework agreement on the construction of a logistics complex. The investment project is at the stage of selecting a land plot, the final decision on the site has not been made,” the fund said.
It turns out that the situation is in a state of unstable equilibrium: the project seems to be possible, but provided that the protest activity does not go beyond the bounds of decency, it will not become an inhibiting factor. They even planned to organize public platforms to discuss the situation in Miass. But whether a compromise will be found or the tension around the potential construction site will grow, apparently, depends not even on the desire to negotiate, but on the technical and engineering solutions of the authorities and business.
When the material was being prepared for publication, it became known that the prosecutor of Miass, Aleksey Putilov, protested against the decision of the deputies to allocate land for the construction of a warehouse complex. It turned out that not all plots are owned by the municipality. One is owned by the Ural automobile plant, several have been leased to various companies, another one has sewer networks, so it cannot be built up. In addition, as stated in the supervisory authority, a violation of the procedure for holding public hearings is seen. At the next meetings, the people’s representatives “must make a decision on the merits of the issue.”
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