From June 15 to July 10, 2009, six graduate Urban Studies and Planning students from the University of Maryland (UMD) and seven graduate Architecture students from the University of Maryland, the University of Illinois, and Cornell University worked with sixteen Architecture students from the St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Construction Engineering (SPSUACE) to prepare a redevelopment plan for an 18-hectare site at Rzhevka (Rzhevka 35), on the outskirts of the City of St. Petersburg. The faculty advisors were Marie Howland, David Falk, and Garth Rockcastle from UMD and Vladimir Linov from SPSUACE. On July 10, they presented their redevelopment plan to the prospective development company, representatives from the City Planning Department, and SPSUACE faculty. As a final product, this paper summarizes the development process and final recommendations.
Faculty chose Rzhevka 35 as a study site because it is listed as a high priority auction or tender site for the City of St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is moving from a city where land was held and controlled by the central Soviet government to one where private individuals and investors have a stake and some control over land. As part of this transition, the City is offering parcels for tender to private investors for redevelopment. Rzhevka is listed second on the current list and to be offered for tender this fall. The land is valuable due to its location as a major transportation hub, with the terminus of a tram line, a train stop on a commuter line, the marshrutka (taxi buses), an entrance onto the beltway, and a planned Metro station to open in 2020.
Our goal was to develop a redevelopment plan that contributed to the physical environment and quality of life for residents, but that would also yield an acceptable rate of return for an investor. This final proposal considers the architectural integrity of the site, as well the impacts on the environment, transportation, safety, and the approximately 3,000 residents who currently live there. Importantly, our plan is financially feasible, earning the developer a profit of 989,000,000 rubles and a 13% pre-tax rate of return. This report will discuss the site and our recommendations for the redevelopment. We conclude by making some recommendations on how the City can improve the site planning and development process in St. Petersburg.