Partner Andrei Mikonin made comments for “RBС daily” concerning the conflict between the City Property Management Committee and the owner of a property located at 145 Ligovsky avenue.

20 September 2011

It seems that the failure of a building at 145 Ligovsky Avenue, which houses the Main Investigations Directorate of the Chief Administration of Internal Affairs which occurred in last September, has played into the hands of municipal authorities. The City Property Management Committee was unable to arrange for buying out the land plot of 531. 6 sq. m from a private business OOO Target, since 2008, and now they will seek invalidation of ownership, through a court action, because the property ceased to exist. Lawyers explained that court’s decision as to whether the building is completely destroyed, shall be of fundamental importance, since only floor structures and carrying walls were mainly damaged due to the failure.

According to Yekaterina Zueva, the lawyer of OOO Target, the first session concerning the claim of the City Property Management Committee on termination of OOO Таргет ownership title to premises located on the ground floor and underground floor at 145 Ligovsky Avenue (total area: 531.6 sq. m), due to destruction of the property, was scheduled for September, 29. Let’s remind, that floor structures on eight floors (from the ground to the eight floor) collapsed on September, 1, 2010; a criminal case was initiated according to part 1, article 216 of the Penal code of the Russian Federation (violation of safety regulations in the course of construction and other works). According to Committee on construction, the failure was caused by dismantling of strong boxes safes built into the walls. The total area of the building is 6600 sq. m.

Mrs. Zueva said that "Target" acquired the premises in 1997, to open an equipment selling store. In 2008, negotiations with the City Property Management Committee were initiated concerning potential buying out or granting the company some other land plot because of intended reconstruction. However, the parties failed to agree. According to the City Property Management Committee, the owner has set too high price for the property. Experts of ASTERA appraised the cost of these premises at 65-75 thousand roubles per sq. m. “As a result of last year’s accident, one of the main walls and part of the floor structures were demolished, however, everything can be restored,” said Yekaterina Zueva.

According to the City Property Management Committee, the city is currently unable to negotiate about buying out the premises, because the City Authority for Inventory and Real Estate Appraisal concluded that the disputable property ceased to exist. Moreover, the committee maintains that the company has a debt to the city totaling circa 500 thousand roubles for the lease of land plots including the land plot at 145 Ligovsky Avenue. The committee seeks to collect this debt through a court action as well. The Target company maintains that the amount is much smaller.

To assert their rights, “Target” will invoke the decision made by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia this July, which annulled the competitive tendering for reconstruction of the building, held by the Committee on construction (following the results of this tender, the contract was awarded to Vesk Energo, now renamed “Reconstructsia Severo-Zapad”). The Committee on construction informed RBC daily that according to instruction issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Service, the contract with Vesk Energo was terminated on July, 4, 2011, and now they are making arrangements to reassign the works to some other contractor.

Dmitry Lipatov, partner of the law company “Nalogovik” pointed out that the possibility to declare the proprietary right as forfeited is expressly provided by law, and the City Property Management Committee refers to this fact. “At the same time, people at the committee contradict themselves, as the claim is aimed at seizing the building to reconstruct it. And what is to be reconstructed if (according to the City Property Management Committee) the building does not exist anymore?” stated the lawyer. Inna Gushchina, the senior associate at “Kamenskaya & partners”, believes that Pavlov house was not completely destroyed; therefore, ownership rights to a disputed property cannot be forfeited. Andrei Mikonin, the partner of S&K Vertikal reminds that in 2007 the City Property Management Committee failed to prove the “loss” of a building to Severnaya Stolitsa company, given that the remnants of the footing still existed. Then the City Property Management Committee tried to contest the company’s proprietary right to a building at Aleksandrovsky park (offered for reconstruction), referring to the fact that today almost no trace of the building exists, except the footing, and to terminate the agreement to lease the plot of land.

Irina Lapechenkova

RBC daily 

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