Former Arkada Bank projects to be completed in a few years if Parties Cooperate

21.04.2021

The founder of the public organization "Center for the Protection of Kyivans", businesswoman Vlada Molchanova told UNIAN about the prospects for completing the construction of residential complexes of the bankrupt Arkada Bank in Kyiv, when investors will be able to get their apartments, the specifics of financing of this project, as well as about the problems that hinder the completion process.

A signing of a memorandum on the completion of the construction of unfinished facilities of the bankrupt Arkada bank was announced in Kyiv. On April 7, 2021, during a briefing at the National Bank of Ukraine, it was announced that the three residential complexes Patriotika, Evrika and Patriotika on the Lakes, unfinished by Arkada, would soon be completed. The document was signed by the heads of a number of ministries, relevant government departments and investors.

This is an encouraging message from the authorities for investors and, in fact, the first and unique for the capital case of solving a crisis situation, where the relevant authorities and leading developers are working together for the first time. Vlada Molchanova, a businesswoman and founder of the Center for the Protection of the Kyivans spoke about the rights and obligations of each of the parties, about how the completion will be financed, when investors can get their apartments, and whether a new park will appear on Osokorki in Kyiv in an interview with UNIAN.

What is your role in the process of solving the social issue of completing the construction of Arkada facilities? And where did it all begin?

I first encountered this problem as a founder of the Center for the Protection of the Kyivans. This is a public organization that closely follows key Kyiv topics, conducts expert and educational events, and also provides free legal assistance to Kyiv residents who find themselves in difficult life circumstances.

Last year, our organization was approached for help by an initiative group of investors, the absolute majority of which are ordinary Kyiv families who suffered as a result of the actions of the Arkada bank. Since I have considerable expert experience as a developer and I care about the problems of our society, I could not stand aside. Therefore, our team gave an impetus to the settlement of issues related to the Arcade objects, and I began to act as a moderator of this process.

Now there are many cases of construction in progress on the market. In particular, the well-known unfinished projects of the Elite Center, Voitsekhovsky's facilities and others. But none of them are successful. Having completed the construction of the "Arcade" facilities, we will prove that it is possible to effectively solve such problems.

Moreover, this problem is very acute and painful for many residents of Kyiv. A significant number of investors suffered - not one or two houses, but thousands of families. That is why we decided to interfere. And the further we plunged into this issue, the greater was the understanding of how construction could be finalized, the completion mechanisms were constantly being worked out.

This resulted in a memorandum that gave impetus to detailed negotiations. We discuss what each side can do to move this situation forward. And not just virtually stretch this process in time, but really give people the opportunity to get their own completed housing. We strive to achieve this by real actions, with the involvement of representatives of the executive branch and local self-government.

The memorandum was signed by 12 parties: relevant ministries and departments, investors. Also, a key participant in this process is the city community, which is represented by Mayor Klitschko.

For me personally, this is a serious challenge. And the opportunity to really help the people of Kyiv through the organization of the completion process. In my opinion, if all parties to this process properly fulfill their obligations, the facilities can be completed and put into operation.

How difficult is it to communicate with the authorities in this process?

I have extensive management experience in the private sector and, of course, in business, where such crisis situations are resolved much more quickly. A lot of additional questions and restrictions arose when involving state bodies. But the very fact that we managed to attract all the key institutions, each of which, according to the memorandum, received a clear area of responsibility, is already a great achievement.

What role does DTEK Kyivski Elektromerezhi play in this process? As far as we know, they did not sign the memorandum…

For me, this is a hot topic, and the position of this company looks rather strange. It seemed to me that we were solving common problems, and DTEK Kyivski Elektromerezhi, like all parties, should be absolutely interested in solving it and finalizing the completion process.

We expected from them a constructive position but not a refusal. Personally, I am surprised by the lack of position of the company with its obvious obligations to the community.

And what about cooperation with the city authorities and personally with the mayor Vitali Klitschko?

I can say that Vitali Klitschko's position on this issue is very constructive. We received assurances of comprehensive support and assistance in solving a number of problems. These are both infrastructure issues and the issue of building social facilities.

I hope that all the obligations assumed by the city will be fulfilled. We communicate very effectively with the mayor, and he is one of the most active participants in this process.

The most pressing issue around the theme of the unfinished "Arcade" is the story of the illegal export of sand, which is actively discussed in the media. Can you comment on it?

We are talking about the sand washed up by Arkada, in particular, at the expense of investors, in the capital's Osokorki. It is stored on the territory next to the construction site, and without it, it is impossible to complete the construction of objects. At the same time, there are several structures claiming this sand.

It is clear that we are talking about certain abuses. Therefore, it is very important for me that this issue is resolved, that the sand remains on the site, and that all events around it are given an objective legal assessment. For my part, I will do my best to help resolve this issue. Everything must be done according to the law.

Another acute issue is "Ecopark". What are the chances that a new park will appear on the left bank of Kyiv?

As for "Ecopark", we discussed this issue. We discussed this issue, together with the mayor. I was the initiator and invited the representatives of "Ecopark" to hear their position. But after the first meeting, they actually withdrew from the negotiation process.

For me, this is also a very weird situation: people are trying to do something, there is a position of the city authorities, there is a mayor who wants to assist, to understand, and who devotes his time and attention to this ... There is me who is trying to moderate this and to glue it together ... And Ecopark simply quits from the negotiation process, and instead collaborates with some unknown structures, pseudo-activists in the balaclavas. This is not constructive, but destructive.

I am sure that all parties understand the need to create a new park area in this densely populated area of the city. Especially since an area of more than 100 hectares is provided for this. We are ready to present a project. What is interesting, within this territory there is a proposal to create a large zoo, similar to the one in Kharkiv, which will bring joy not only to the residents of Osokorki and Poznyaky but also to the entire left bank of Kyiv.

We invite all parties to jointly develop the concept of the park in the surrounding areas - both the Ecopark public organization and all interested residents.

How do you plan to raise funds for these projects? What mechanisms will be involved?

Several parties among the participants in the memorandum work on the issue since investors expect the completion of facilities to be within 3 years. Stolitsa Group worked out the mechanisms for the completion of the project in such a short time, and I was assured that this was possible, with state financial assistance and a full package of documentation.

Therefore, this issue is now being discussed. I note that there are many steps that we do for the first time, so we are, so to speak, a "pioneers" in this matter.

All this, of course, takes time, but we are trying to speed up all these processes. But if we have already shouldered this heavy burden, there is simply no other way out.

What is your relationship with Arkada depositors - those people who were left without apartments?

According to the memorandum, a construction completion directorate has been created, which, in my opinion, includes precisely those structures that are engaged in operational activities and resolve pressing issues of completion. They work out all the problems and give their proposals on what needs to be done, at what levels of government or in what institutions to agree on the issue so that this process is really completed within the stated time frame and meets the expectations of investors.

How often do you communicate with investors?

We are in constant contact. But today this process has already been partially picked up by the directorate, and now most of the communications are built through it and the representation of investors of all residential complexes.

What are the biggest concerns for investors after signing the memorandum?

Of course, this is an opportunity to complete their apartments as sooner as possible. There are numerous issues related to those with a high degree of completion, this is a separate story, and I know that the management is already working on this issue.

The main difficulty is the timing of when the apartments will be completed and put into operation. And its decision largely depends on how the state will be able to attract funds on a repayable basis for the speedy completion of construction.

What are the prospects for this project, in your opinion? When should we expect the end?

In life, I am an optimist and a maximalist in terms of completing tasks. Therefore, I believe and will make every effort to make this happen as soon as possible. And I will do everything in my power to ensure that all parties fulfill their obligations to the people of Kyiv, and housing is completed. With the active participation of all parties, the task of completing the construction of Arkada Bank facilities can be completed in a few years. And I will get the opportunity to communicate with investors in their own apartments in the future.

Source: "UNIAN"

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