In the old way: why Kazan billionaire buys the estate near Moscow

Alexey Semin, the defendant in a criminal case on a fire in Admiral shopping center, spends millions of dollars to restore the estates around the capital and hopes to get the investment back.
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The estate merchant Vasily Aigina in the village of Talitsy guests. The living room is heated with a marble fireplace. The waiters in the red tunic poured tea from a samovar, and distribute the poppy bagels. The sofa of the XVIII century with a tight silk upholstery sit quite modern officials, who came to see the progress the restoration. It smells of fresh renovation.

It is hard to imagine that a year ago there was complete devastation. The current owner of the estate - the head of the investment group ASG Alex Semin, the defendant in a criminal case of a fire in Kazan shopping center "Admiral" and declared an international arrest warrant.

As a result, 17 people died of fire. The building of the former departments of the Kazan plant "Hammer and Sickle", remodeled under the market, owned by the closed real estate fund Semin. Billionaire denies his guilt. Two weeks before the fire, he went to France and still did not return to Russia. In his version, the responsibility for operation of the building and harmonization of alterations was the tenant.

He strictly follows the authenticity of the situation - a carved sideboard, sofa and upholstery of chairs in the spirit of the late Renaissance dollarsbe consistent with each other, personally controlled even a choice of wallpapers and fabrics for curtains. Perhaps it is the passion of the neophyte - owner of the largest estates in Tatarstan land bank and numerous houses interested not so long ago, in 2013. Then, before the crisis, it was richer in March 2014 Forbes estimated his fortune at $ 1.15 billion.

Property Semin engaged for 20 years before that. he created in Tatarstan "Education" investment fund in 1993. At the population bought up the vouchers to purchase shares of local enterprises. The rest - a trick, you had only to convince the "red directors", get rid of money-losing real estate on the balance sheet in exchange for shares to their advantage. Since he became the owner of dozens of buildings in Kazan and other cities of the republic. "By the mid-1990s, our wreck turned into profitable centers, and the first time I felt like a businessman on a regional scale", - says Semin, in an interview with Forbes. (The conversation took place before, both in terms of businessman opened a criminal case.)

ASG owns 166 properties - 129 of them in Tatarstan36 in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg. Land Bank, where about 25 000 ha of land, formed after the 1998 crisis. As long as the earth does not bring profits. Semin hopes that the current crisis will spur interest in it, and plans to sell about fifty plots for cottage settlements. As ruinirovannye manor fit into the strategy of the developer?

Sports interest

"All because of my art collection," - explains the interest in the estates he Semin. Collect it, he began in the early 1990s. Initially interested in Russian art, silver, porcelain, bronze, samovars, enamels. All this buying and other wealthy Russians. "Competing with regional museums" To stand out, Semin set out to assemble a collection.

Since Russian antiquities are not so many, Semin switched to Western European art XVI-XVIII centuries. Among his favorite artists - Flemings Snyders and Rubens, as well as not the most famous, but comparable with recognized geniuses names. "You can sell all that possess and buy a Rembrandt, but you can & mdash; his friend Ian Leavens and receive from the contemplation of his paintings the same pleasure, "- said Semin.

But the pictures are nothing new - needed something else. All the more so to take the picture apart from furniture Semin can not - "this is not my nature." So he began to appear the clock and tapestries, furniture and ceramics. He adds a collection of four times a year, when in France are interesting auctions.

The idea of ​​what else to stand out there when in Kazan began a large-scale preparation for the Universiade. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov on Sunday went around the historic center with a retinue of 20-30 people - the republican prosecutor, interior minister, head of supervision, the Ministry of Culture. I stayed at each building with crumbling facade and strictly asked: "Whose?" Owners are appointed for completion of repairs, for non-compliance instituted proceedings, and the buildings were sold to private investors for a symbolic price, but with a condition - for the Universiade complete restoration of facades. Prosecutors check touched even considered before Mr.eprikosnovennoy estate structures "Tatneft".

For eighteen years walks Minnikhanov hosts 50 buildings have changed. Half of them bought Alex Semin. Among the other new owners - "Ak Bars" and the agricultural holding "Krasny Vostok". "In this process Semin literally dragged himself Minnikhanov," - said Kazan businessman who knows both of them.

For the restoration of mansions ASG acquired several construction companies. According to Semin, to meet deadlines and cost estimates, required their builders, architects, restorers and designers. And high-quality restoration is possible only if it is on private money and the forces under the control of the companies.

Meanwhile, at Kazan rumors. "With a light hand of the Kazan journalists all agreed that 26 buildings in the center of Kazan, I bought solely for the purpose of placing them in his collection - laughing Semin. - In fact, I had the idea to create a network of historic buildings, which will be recreated environment XVIII-XIX centuries - than not a unique project, "Director of the International Institute antique?ARIAT Alina Bulgakov confirms that the collection of buildings with selected works of art no one in Russia. So far, however, even the not sure Semin in demand ideas mansions, museums: "In the West it is common practice, but in Russia there is such a culture." But precisely because of the restoration of houses in Kazan, he was able to assemble a collection of estates in Moscow.


November 2013. The Ministry of Property Relations of the Moscow region is a struggle for the right to lease the estate Aigina. On 4.7 hectares, 30 km from Moscow preserved two-storey building with basement on 1093 square meters. m - from 1914 to 1985 it was a house for teachers Talitsa eight-year, as well as an outbuilding and linden park with a cascade of ponds. Status of the main house commission has identified as "unsatisfactory", but the enthusiasm of potential owners is not cooled: initial 159 thousand rubles have grown for three days up to 2.5 million rubles (this amount the auction winner pays for rent for the period until the complete restoration, then - ruble per 1 sq m).. Two main contenders - the manufacturer of ecclesiasticalth articles "Sofrino" and the company "Maggie Park", controlled by ASG. Semin won.

Instead of the law on the seven years he restored the main house for a year, than, probably, and endeared himself to officials. Kazan businessman now owns nine estates in Moscow and four in the Smolensk region. All of them were taken from the state for 49 years.

It is not too expensive. First January 2015, amendments to the law "On regulation of land relations in the Moscow region", estates and tenants received land lease incentives. The fee for the land under the homestead Aigina, for example, has dropped from 1 million rubles per year to about 70 000 rubles. Semin insists that not lobbying law: it is advantageous to the authorities, which is now easier to attach the crumbling manor. According to Alexander Chuprakova, deputy chairman of the Moscow Region Government, in 2015 at a public auction will exhibit 28 estates. Semin said that in the coming years plans to buy 10-12 mansions.

Restoring estates - an expensive pleasure. So, first and foremost the restoration of the estate AigiGOVERNMENTAL pulled by 200 million rubles, the restoration of the lost buildings would cost half that amount. But the restoration of the manor Vyazemskys (Pushchino-na-Nara), a rare example of Russian palladianstva - classicism of the XVIII century - will cost at least half a billion.

"The salvation of this masterpiece turned into ruins worth any money - estates of such level in Russia remained units", - says Semin.

"Such high costs scare the competition, so Semin won all their auction" - believes the president of the "Revival of Russian manor" Vissarion Alyavdin.

It is in Talitsy restored from photographs of the late XIX century and the old map. All this brought Semin Aiginyh descendants, living in Moscow. "Find any sources is very difficult - the archives burned or eaten by mice - lamenting businessman. - But inexplicably for each object we find something. " Thus, in the suburban estate Spassky near the town of Voskresensk in 1930-1940-ies the children's home was located, which was sent to graduates ASG photos of those years.

In Talitsy Semin wants to revive the mustacheDebney life: to open a boutique hotel with the ambience of the museum, a restaurant serving Russian cuisine, forge, make workshops, break garden land, build a stable. All of this will bring an atmosphere to the historical and attract tourists, he said. Another part of the plan - to build next to the estate (outside protected areas) stylized XIX century villa. Handing them out, Semin expects to recoup all costs.

At the same scheme and could be close to other estates to create a historic hotels, combining them into a network. A few weeks ago, Alex Semin met in Europe with the president of the company that manages a network of castles. He does not hide that he would not mind to give the manor estate in the management of Europeans. "Competent step - approves the co-owner of the estate Marino 65 km from St. Petersburg Leonid Stepanov. - Otherwise, everything will work itself - from the bath attendant to the manager. "

Does buying estates turn into a construction of a network of hotels? "No way, our task - to recreate the estate", - says Semin, calling the project "more culturalist than anyoneercheskim ".

Noble Nest

If the plan is the creation of estates, hotels realized, Semin will be able to place his collection in suitable interiors. He said that almost all the furniture, lamps, wall lamps, chandeliers, purchased them at auction in person, in the near future will go to the improvement of estates. Some of them are lucky more than others: she gets a wardrobe of the XVIII century, which produced for Peter I. From inside the closet pasted paper with monograms of the Russian Emperor, who died before he could pick up an order.

Anyone who knows Semin as a successful businessman, it is unlikely suspect in it connoisseur of fine arts. However, Semin shows almost professional awareness of issues of attribution. For example, the authorship of paintings "collectors of firewood", bought in 2010 at an auction in France, was initially attributed to the circle of Dutch painter Johannes Glauber (XVII-XVIII century). Semin insisted pereatributsii and experts recognized the authorship of Glauber. Similar stories were furnished. Alina Bulgakov recalls how once buffet Renaissance attributed to andToryism. But Semin something characteristic saw in the wood in the decor elements. Pereatributsiya confirmed his hypothesis. By 2018, Semin plans to launch a first of eight boutique hotels in restored houses.

He believes that because of the collapse of the currency and demand for sanctions own history and domestic tourism will grow dramatically.

A total restoration in the coming years, he is willing to spend at least 5-6 billion rubles. whether investments will pay off? "If a billionaire wants to become a millionaire, he should find yourself a few horses" - laughs the owner of the ancestral estate Voronino Sergey Leontiev. According to him, the money from the tourist flow in the best case will last for the current contents of the estate and the park.

State Duma deputy and the owner of the estate in the Tver region of Znamenskoye-Rusk Vladimir Kononov sure manor to recoup the project can not be under any circumstances. He knows what says a former co-owner of the ski resort "Yakhroma" 20 years ago, the first among domestic businessmen invested in the restoration of the manor - house Belyustina in Kalyazin. "It is important to realize that 50% of the investment - a tangible investment, and 50% - the attachment of the soul of the owner. This is not just fine words, otherwise the project will fail, - says Kononov. - But these investments pay off in the first place - the owner receives no incomparable satisfaction and the process, and on the result. "

Leonid Stepanov recalls visited his estate sculptor Mikhail Shemyakin, when the conversation turned to the cost, threw up his hands: "Would buy two castles in France, restored and made money. ? Here - why? "Semin can compare: in March 2006, he bought a castle Levevill Chartres, 80 km from Paris. The castle is not a single modern object other than technology - all of the XVIII century, from the wallpaper to the furniture sets.

Semin now holds in France for several months of the year, adding to its collection of wines and collection of interior items. At the time of writing he was not going to leave France for a meeting with the investigators in the case of a fire in the shopping center «Admiral». On the phone he says that the project manor recent events have not affectedBut caused him first read from cover to cover a lease Kazan building and think: "As you know, our estates are in a long-term lease from the state, their owner. In case of fire or other emergency is not the responsibility of the state, and we, as the main tenant. "

But the French experience convinces him that the estates should be engaged - the rate of return in the historic estate in Europe 2-3%. "When I initially considered building a precious casket in which art can be folded, but now I see that the objects of the collection only complement the main masterpieces own manor."