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Irina Krylova (Director, the WTC Moscow Office-Apartment Complex) told about the history and development of the complex, the plans and tasks, rendered services and relationships with tenants.
- Irina, WTC is 40 this year. How has it all begun and what changes have occurred over this period of time?
Without exaggeration, I can say that for the past 40 years we have accumulated the huge experience that, perhaps, no business center in Moscow can offer. WTC Moscow was the first organization in our country that started working with foreign clients, and over time some large Russian companies were added to the list of our tenants. We successfully lived through the several economic crises in the country and all this time we kept on building and developing.
The construction of the first multifunctional complex in Russia was predetermined by the location of industrial enterprises at the Trekhgorny manufacture area.
The WTC became the first Russian multi-functional business center and the initial stage in the development of a new prestigious business area of Moscow, in proximity to the Kremlin, the House of the Government of the Russian Federation, within walking distance of the exhibition center «Expocentre». American technologies and architectural innovations of the construction allowed for a conceptually new project on the real estate market. In the process of construction and while equipping the buildings of our complex the latest world technological developments were used, many of which were unique and had no analogues even to date.
And later our successful construction management experience has come into use by another multi-functional complexes, among which «The Moscow City» buildings are.
Until 2000 the WTC complex consisted of a congress-center, hotel «Mezhdunarodnaya», apart-hotel «Mezhdunarodnaya-2», our sports and health complex, the mall and a restaurants gallery. With a growing demand for offices it was decided to erect another office building. In 2003 the Office Building 2 was commissioned and it really extended rental and congress opportunities. All office spaces were occupied in one year.
The hotel was renovated in 2007 and was opened under the Crowne Plaza brand, belonging to the international hotel chain InterContinental Hotels Group. At that time we were the first to bring the brand to Russia, and in 2019 together with our colleagues from IHG we watched the opening of the fifth hotel of the chain in our country.
In 2010-2011 we completed and put into operation the Office Building 3 (A class) and the Crowne Plaza Hotel Club building that not only expanded the range of our services, but noticeably changed the appearance of the complex, totaling the floorplan area to more than 270 000 m².
The new food points and new congress and banquet halls, sport and leisure facilities have been opened lately. Currently, 14 restaurants and 9 banquet halls work in the complex.
In 2018-2019, focusing on the growing trend of decentralization of multifunctional centers and the development of the city districts and recreational zones, we redeveloped our North of Moscow property- the ex-«Soyuz» hotel.
The renovated hotel was opened prior to the FIFA 2019 World Cup under the Holiday Inn Express brand («three-star hotel»). Then we have extended our offer of the office and congress spaces and the related infrastructure. Our multifunctional center in Khovrino now consists of the office space with a total area of 1000 m², a restaurant, conference-halls and meeting rooms, and guarded parking with the access to the recreational area.
In the WTC Moscow main building, situated on Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya, the renovation is still in progress: the renovated Bar24 has been opened recently in the Atrium of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, along with the new summer terrace of the Plaza Garden Cafe. The appearance of the Atrium itself and the Moll Street, - the central artery of the complex, - is being transformed. Everything is changing: the wall coverings, floor, decor, and the elevator groups.
To date we face a difficult task to unite all architecture solutions from different periods of the complex development, to apply the latest trends in design and construction and at the same time try to preserve to authenticity of the historical parts of the WTC. We study each project carefully in terms of its versatility and speed of transformation. This also applies to the office space, halls, and public spaces. We are ready for non-standard requests from our clients.
-What services does the WTC provide to the business today?
Irina: Earlier, in 1974 the communiqué of the USSR Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev and the President of the United States Richard Nixon secured the decision to build the country's first multifunctional business complex with the aim of «creating the conditions for successful work, accommodation and leisure time of business people from all over the world». We have carried this mission through the decades and generations uniting all necessary types of services.
Today, the activities of the World Trade Center can be divided into several major branches: commercial real estate, hotels, restaurants, organization of events, business facilitation, and at the same time all these are interrelated and offer a variety of additional services. Our guests don’t even have to leave the complex territory (perhaps only for a walk in the nearby park), because here people can have everything they may require: a suitable workplace, comfortable accommodation, a variety of cafes and restaurants, shops, dry-cleaning, a post office, beauty salons.
We also solve one of the hot issues – we simplify the logistics as much as possible. For example, our tenants prefer to hold meetings at the WTC restaurants– it is convenient: everything is within walking distance with a big parking for guests (more than 2000 parking lots). They also organize their own events in our Congress center -whether it is a seminar or an international forum. WTC Moscow offers a choice of three hotels of different star-rating for guests’ accommodation. For supporting the healthy lifestyle trend we offer the WTC Fitness centers’ services, and for those who prefer an open air workout – there are activities in a landscaped area – the Krasnaya Presnya Park. I can give you more examples of the combinations.
- Please, tell us about your tenants’ profiles. Do they change often and how high does the vacancy rate go? Do you offer any preferential conditions for those companies that go for long-term rent?
Irina: - The first tenants came to the WTC in the 1980s. And, by the way, some of them are still renting with us. Today WTC Moscow has approximately 700 tenants and 103 thousand m² of office spaces. However, the building itself is designed and constructed in such a way that the offices could be easily converted. A tenant has a unique opportunity to «order» that very office he or she needs.
As of the current date, 80% of the WTC Moscow space is taken by Russian companies and 20% by foreign ones. The first place in terms of the rented space among foreign companies is taken by the Korean companies followed by Japan (their share is 5%), the second place is taken by Cyprus (3%), the third – Italy and Germany. At the same time, the current activity of foreign companies can be described as small. In the past year and a half major Russian deals have come to the fore.
As far as a profile of the WTC’s residents’ is concerned, resource-extracting companies account for 25% of the tenants, banks and finances structures give 15%, with 8% going to professional services and trade companies. IT industry and telecommunications keep on showing steady demand.
With the attractive commercial conditions, the offer flexibility and the speed of the response to the residents' requests are coming to the fore - from the Internet speed or an opportunity to advertise a tenant-company in public areas of the complex to the choice of a new office room (when it is time for a company to change the office layout). The client needs its services «right here and right now». The «Prime-office» has turned out to be extremely in demand. We rent out fully prepared and equipped small offices on short-term basis, while not limiting the term of the lease. And they are in great demand among firms that are in the process of relocation, and start-up companies that want to save on furnishing.
The WTC pays special attention to the matters of security and service quality management. I won’t mention all our awards and appreciations, as it is the other indicator that is much more important to us – those companies and guests who choose the WTC for their offices, accommodation and events. Here we should mention the FIFA World Cup: preparing for it, accommodating the guests and participants, solving the logistics and security matters have become an endeavor, which get almost all divisions of our Center involved.
-What reconstruction is on the way for WTC? Will two more towers really be erected? What functional purpose the new areas will have?
Irina: - We have a long way to go - for such an object with a history similar to the WTC’s, it’s rather a constant process - a couple of years pass, new technologies and new services appear, the life of individual elements is coming to an end or trends change - and we keep up with the times . Today we are seriously considering the possibilities of further development of the territory on Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya and the expansion of the complex. One of the reasons is the constant demand for our office buildings, there are almost 100% occupied with a growing waiting list. It’s too early to disclose details as the project is still being approved. But I can definitely say that a new bright period is in store for us.