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Greater Moscow Land Plots Frozen

City Hall told the Russian Housing Development Foundation to cease land sales on territories that are slated to become part of greater Moscow, even before the concept for the expanded capital has been officially approved, sources told Vedomosti.

The Russian Housing Development Foundation placed a two-month freeze on the sale of two land plots in the Moscow region that are within the planned new administrative borders of the city. 

According to the foundation's web site, the freeze "is necessary to clarify information on the potential land allocation for governmental and parliamentarian centers."

The decision on where to develop a governmental center has yet to be made, which government agencies are to be relocated and the amount of land that will be needed has not yet been determined, Marat Khusnellin, director of the city construction agency, said last week.

The Federation Council must confirm the new city borders before they are legally binding — a step the authorities in Moscow hope will occur before the end of this year.

Currently the territories are being zoned and surveyed, a source at the city construction agency told Vedomosti.

The housing foundation planned to sell 177 hectares in Leninsky district, 16 kilometers from the Moscow Ring Road, and 60 hectares in Naro-Fominsky district, 17.5 kilometers from the Moscow Ring Road, on Sept. 27 and 29. Zoning permitted development on the first plot of 148,000 square meters of housing, including individual homes; on the second plot 262,173 square meters of housing could be built. 

Previously, Alexander Braverman, director of the housing foundation, reported that the land to be annexed by Moscow for the city expansion includes 1,247 hectares of land belonging to the fund and slated to be developed into residential housing. 

However, for the time being the foundation has been advised not to sell any of this land, an official in the Mayor's office told Vedomosti.

The official in the Mayor's office said deals involving land annexed by the capital will be restricted until the city has reserved the plots it needs. Such an injunction is possible when the authorities know that they will need to appropriate land, but the exact size and location are unknown.

For the time being, agreement on the specifications and designs for the new construction project has been drawn out due to various pretexts, said the spokesman for one of the development companies.

Alexander Ruchyev, president of Morton, a development group currently building a residential complex on 470,000 square meters in Solntsevo, said his company has now reached an agreement for property in Leninsky district, designating 1 million square meters for construction. 

"After the capital [decided] to annex the new territories, it became more difficult to obtain the technical documentation for projects," he said.

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