The ‘oligarch’s ghost town’: 42-acre estate of mock 19th century houses at the heart of Kiev which have sat EMPTY since they were built because of the economic crash.
With little signs of wear and tear, these kitsch, brightly coloured façades look like they could be straight of a period film set.But in fact they show what people in the Ukrainian capital Kiev have dubbed the ‘millionaires’ ghost town’: 42 acres of mock-19th-Century buildings that sit all but empty in the heart of the city.The development in Vozdvyzhenka was conceived of a decade ago as a desirable, upmarket neighbourhood for the city’s wealthy residents.
Millionaires’ ghost town: The brightly coloured luxury development in Vozdvizhenka, in Kiev, Ukraine, which has been left all but empty after the 2008 banking crash
Good as new: With little signs of wear and tear, these kitsch, brightly coloured façades look like they could be straight of a period film setIll conceived: Vozdvyzhenka consists of 42 acres of mock-19th-Century buildings that now sit all but empty in the heart of Kiev
Historic: Od Vozdvyzhenka was for centuries a centre for local cottage industries, inhabited by potters and skinners after whom many of its new streets are now named
… but the district’s prime location, 15 minutes from the centre of Kiev, made it a prime target for developers keen to transform it into the playground of the richTaras Ziabkin, deputy head of Kievgorstroy-1, the developers behind Vozdvyzhenka, told The Guardian: ‘We were knocked down in 2008. I will not hide that the demand dropped drastically then.’But he rejected descriptions, popular among locals, that the development is a ‘dead town’. Fifty of its 250 properties have residents, he said, with builders readying another 50 for new tenants.He added that he expects to sell the remaining 150 apartments by the end of 2014, explaining the site’s lack of life with the claim that most owners live abroad and bought their properties as ‘investments’.
Low demand: Just 50 of Vozdvyzhenka’s 250 properties are occupied, but Taras Ziabkin of developers Kievgorstroy-1, says builders are readying 50 more for tenants
Colourful: Ironically, given the site cleared to make space for it, the Vozdvyzhenka development apes the Baroque and modernist architectural styles of 19th Century Kiev
‘Greed’: Georgy Duchovychniy, one of Kiev’s most prominent architects, blames the developers for ruining the historic district and predicts it will never be fully inhabited
Shaky: Mr Duchovychniy said that in their pursuit of profit developers threw caution to the wind, adding floors to their plans while disregarding the need to strenghten foundations
Not so comfortable… The result has been a slew of complaints about cracks in the walls, leaky basements and heating breakdowns ever since people started moving in in 2010
Pretty: In their proposal for the regeneration, Kievgorstroy-1 emphasised the district’s history and the luxury features they were to include
However, their presence is yet to be felt in Vozdvyzhenka, where builders and passers-by are more likely to be spotted than the cream of Kiev’s high societyDead end: Demand for homes in the district dropped dramatically after the banking crisis, but the developers reject local descriptions of the area as a ‘ghost town’