Why the Urban Group collapsed

The company of Alexander Dolgin died in a falling market, leaving behind a huge unfinished.
Ten years ago, since his childhood, the dreamer of the construction of a metallurgist, Alexander Dolgin, decided to make in Russia a development company that would create residential complexes according to the western pattern. So there was the Urban Group, which eventually became one of the largest developers of the Moscow region and collapsed literally overnight. Among the reasons is the owner's conflict with management and a drop in demand for housing in the region, dumping and inefficient spending. Now the authorities need to complete the construction of almost 3.5 million square meters. m of real estate, but other projects Urban Group projects are not too interested.

"There is no money in the company"

Officially, the collapse of the Urban Group began with the withdrawal of Sberbank's accreditation for mortgage programs for its customers. The bank motivated the decision with the possible risk of unfinished construction. But even before that, Rosreestr suspended the registration of equity participation agreements (DDU) in the company's projects. As a result, 815.5 million rubles were blocked, the owner of the Urban Group, Alexander Dolgin, told his employees in a letter, a copy of which is from Kommersant. Then created in November 2017, the Fund for the protection of the rights of citizens participating in shared construction (analogue of the DIA in the market of housing construction) was appointed by the authorities to understand the situation with the developer's facilities. It will be held at the expense of the budget of the Russian Federation and the Moscow region.

The number of co-investors who did not receive an apartment has not yet been officially called. Analyst CIANA Alexander Pypin, after studying the extracts from Rosreestr, estimated that the company raised 85 billion rubles. By selling 19,444 apartments at the DDU, of which 5,802 are in the surrendered houses and 13,842 in the houses under construction, that is exactly such a number of buyers do not will receive housing on time.

"But there is no money in the company, they have stopped paying their wages since May," says one of the former employees, "and many of us have mortgages taken to buy an apartment in houses that have not yet been built by their employer." According to Rosreestra, as of the end of May 2018, 392 apartments in the residential complexes "Vidny Gorod", "Laikovo", "Mitino O2", "Opaliha O3", "Solar System-2" are not sold at the Moscow Industrial Bank. , another 224 apartments in "Laikovo" and "Mitino 02" - from the Moscow Mortgage Agency.

"By inadvertence and because of distorted information"

Rumors about the financial problems of the Urban Group appeared on the market in 2017. In a June interview with Kommersant, this was indirectly confirmed by the governor of the Moscow region, Andrei Vorobyov: "Last fall we conducted scoring ... A number of Urban objects have lagged behind the schedules. The company received a warning, but assured that these are temporary difficulties. "

The first real alarm bell for the market rang in April 2018, when the Urban Group left the general director Andrei Puchkov. In the early 2000s, he was a financier in the company owned by Mr. Dolgin "Soyuznihrom" (produces precision alloys in Vladimir). In 2005, Mr .. Puchkov, on behalf of the owner of the company began to buy real estate in Moscow, and then - the site for building. So there was the Urban Group: the company began to bring to the market projects that almost no one had implemented before - well-maintained yards, embankments, non-standard architecture. Outbound from buyers, according to Rosreestr, was not.

Recently, Andrei Puchkov was looking for sites, issuing permits and development, and finance was controlled by Alexander Dolgin, one of the interlocutors of Kommersant said. This, he said, was the cause of the conflict. "At some point, Dolgin began to reduce costs, Puchkov could not pay contractors, they began to leave construction sites," - explains the source of Kommersant.

The parties declined to comment. But in a letter to the state employee Dolgin, the employees have the following explanation of the conflict with Andrei Puchkov: "Due to oversight and because of the distorted information, sales of apartments at an outrageously low price were opened - only 65 thousand rubles. for 1 square. This is lower than even the cost that the company was able to cut sharply for a colossal amount of 15,000 rubles. for the sold meter ».

Mr. Dolgin in all this accuses sellers and advertisers ("their art is not to sell good goods at any arbitrarily low price"). In fact, the owner of the company admitted that dumping is one of the reasons that ruined Urban's business. The block of sale and marketing was supervised by Andrey Puchkov.

Alexander Dolgin is indignant and spending on advertising. "Advertising budgets recently just went off scale and accounted for 12% of revenue," he wrote to the staff. "While the norm is no more than 5%." In fact, this accusation of inefficient spending, but in Urban c tough financial discipline, it was impossible, insisted former employees of the company from among sellers and advertisers.

But among the reasons for the collapse of the developer there are objective circumstances. Demand for housing in the suburbs, the main region of the Urban Group's presence, began to fall. If by the end of 2015 165.94 thousand DDU were registered in the region, then by the end of 2017 this indicator decreased by 43%, to 94.6 thousand contracts. This trend continues even now: according to Rosreestr, in the first five months of this year, the number of registered DDUs in the Moscow region declined by 5%, while in Moscow, on the contrary, it increased by 46% compared to the same period in 2017.

"These are big risks"

Officials who oversee the completion of Urban Group facilities, still do not officially call the size of the company's financial hole. In the Ministry of Construction of the Russian Federation and in the office of Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who oversees the construction industry, they declined to comment.

According to a Kommersant source familiar with the situation, 33 billion rubles are needed to complete the construction of all houses for which permits have been issued. Of this amount, the company lacks 16 billion rubles., Notes the interlocutor of "Kommersant". This figure is confirmed and one of the officials of the Moscow region. According to him, initially to solve the problems of Urban it was planned to attract other developers working in the region, but no one wanted.

The average readiness of Urban Group projects is 10-60%, however, the high cost of construction due to additional improvement and a high infrastructure component in each project scares off potential investors, says Dmitri Zharskiy, the director of the Veta expert group. "This is a big risk with a long payback period," he notes. Metinium's managing partner Maria Litinetskaya adds that all the projects that have been started are located in the Moscow region, in conditions of the shift in demand to Moscow they will be less interested in developers.

The head of the development department of Severin Development Andrei Zubkin believes that the search for a new developer will be complicated by the legislative environment: "Many developers on the eve of full entry into force of FZ-218 (toughening the involvement of equity holders." "Kommersant") and so received construction permits for the maximum possible amount sites ". According to him, many developers on the balance are now up to half of unsold apartments during the construction phase.

"The project economy is negative"

Meanwhile, the problems arose not only with the own projects of the Urban Group. She herself undertook to complete the infamous SU-155 complex "Laikovo" on the Rublevo-Uspenskoe highway in Odintsovo district, 12 km from Moscow. This site was originally on the balance of the state farm "Gorki-2", and then - the same agricultural holding, controlled by a large land estate near Moscow landed Timothy Klinovsky. The SU-155 proposed its construction project in 2014. It was planned to build 516 thousand square meters. m of housing. But the SU-155 variant presented a negative reaction from local residents at the public hearings stage. Activists of neighboring villages insisted that the height of houses being built could not exceed 3 floors, while the development project envisaged buildings with a height of 4 to 14 floors.

The emergence of a new investor in the face of the Urban Group led to an increase in construction volumes to 1.7 million square meters. The authorities of the region that agreed to the expansion of the project had to cancel the general development plan approved in 2011, which triggered a new wave of protests by local residents. They are still trying to restore it in the courts.

Andrey Zubkin from Severin Development calls "Laikovo" unpromising in terms of attracting potential investors. He considers the planned scale of construction too large: there are five full-fledged districts in the complex, which can be fully completed only after 15-20 years, and a large amount of social infrastructure will create too high a load for a potential developer. "Quickly, the apartments will not be sold out at the same time: Lykovo has low transport accessibility and high competition from the large objects Odenburg, Odintsovo-1 and Odintsovo Park being built nearby," the expert explains.

Unprofitable for a potential developer will be located in the Krasnogorsk district of the Moscow region project "Lesreurazhny". According to "Metrium", 10 out of 14 buildings are at the initial stage of implementation. "A third of the apartments are sold at the same time, the project economy is negative: funds from the sale of the remaining property will not be enough to complete the construction at a profit," Zubkin agrees.

The readiness of the Mitino O2 located in the same area is much higher: three of the eight buildings are in the final stage of construction, and another two are already erecting middle floors, they are estimated in Metrium. At the same time 45% of apartments are sold. "But it will not be easy to sell the remaining ones: a number of projects of a high degree of readiness are near," continues Andrey Zubkin. Interest in the object, he said, also reduces the fact that the arrival in the residential complex is too narrow and it is difficult for two cars to leave here. Mr. Zubkin doubts about the prospects of the complex "Prominent City", located in the city of Vidnoe near Moscow: according to his estimates, 65% of the project is sold, while the facility is ready for 35-40%.

Consultants are unpromising from the point of view of a possible search for an investor and the most problematic project of the Urban Group is the second phase of the "Solar System" complex. The project provides for the construction of 23.29 hectares in the Moscow region Khimki 460 thousand square meters. m of real estate, of which 245 thousand square meters. m - housing. Before leaving the market, the Urban Group, according to the calculations of "Metrium", managed to start the construction of only two residential buildings, both at the initial stage. According to Mr. Zubkin, in the second phase of the "Solar System" only 10% of the future apartments are sold. The complex has obvious problems, among which the expert calls the neighborhood with the industrial zone and poor transport accessibility. "The trip to the shopping center" Auchan ", located nearby, will take about 30 minutes by private transport and about an hour - on the public one, as much time will be spent on reaching Khimki station during rush hour", he explains.

But now the main problem, say the former employees of Urban, is the residents of the houses already built. In some LCDs, for example, in the "Prominent City", the developer did not manage to agree on the permission to enter the communal infrastructure before the collapse. As several residents of the complex have told Kommersant, because of this they are threatened to turn off the water, and in the autumn - heat supply.