Secrets of the “long-term construction” in the Central Park: How did the development begin, the price of land lease and who signed the documents

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The central park, situated in the heart of the Balti municipality, is not just a place for walking and holding various events. Since 1993, The Balti Central Park officially is considered to be the Historical Monument of the Republic of Moldova. Relevant data can be found on the official web page of the Monuments Protection Agency.

The history of the Central Park is not a simple one. In former times, before the Second World War, there was a residential quarter, the fact confirmed by historical maps.

In times of hostilities, a powerful monstrous force bomb was dropped on the territory of this quarter, which left a giant funnel in this area. The quarter with beautiful buildings was destroyed.

In 1950, the decision was taken to build a park named after the legendary commander G. Kotovsky instead of the residential quarter. In the beginning of 90’s this park was named “Central”. On the territory of the park, the citizens remember such buildings as a shooting range, the building of which later turned into a huge building-supermarket “Bonus”, as well as a dance floor, popularly referred to as “Scovorodca” (the Pan).

Now, on the site of this dance floor, we see a long-term construction in the form of a three-story building “Incomlac”. Regarding this long-term construction the NGO “Association for Human Rights Lex XXI” made a series of requests to the Balti municipality, in order to find out the people who leased this site with subsequent development.

The history of the land lease in the “Central Park”

The decision to lease this plot of land in the historical monument was taken in 2008. On June 19, 2008, at the 4th extraordinary session of the municipal council, according to the Decision Nr. 4/28, a part of the Central Park, where the former dance floor was located, was leased. The decision was signed by the chairman of the municipal council, Strul Serghey, the secretary of municipal council, Serdiuc Irina, and the former mayor of Balti, Panchuk Vasile.

Former mayor of Balti,  Panchuk Vasile     Chairman of Balti municipal council,  Strul Serghey Secretary of Balti municipal council , Serdiuc Irina  

As a result, a 455 square meters parcel of parkland facing Mihai Viteazul street, was leased.

Lease price in the “Central Park”

 The lease cost for a plot of land in the “Central Park”, where currently, according to the documents, the “milk” café “Incomlac” is under construction, consists of 2057,14 lei for a year. The price was formed according to the formula: “2%” of the standard value of the plot. The Balti city hall usually forms lease agreements according to the formula of up to 10% of the standard cost, but in this case we see the contract is only 2% of the plot value.

If we count the rent cost for a month, we will get 171 lei and 43 bani, as income of the local budget.

If we count in meters, we will receive 0,37 lei for one square meter of the “Central Park”. That is, the land in the very center of the municipality is estimated for the tenant at 37 bani per sq. meter.

Rental contracts were extended until the end of 2019. The last rental contract is signed by the former Balti mayor Nicolai Grigorishin based on the municipal council Decision Nr. 14/36 of November 27, 2018.

For the last lease extension in the “Central Park” there was a unanimous vote of all municipal councilors. It should be noted, that when extending the lease, no one made a complaint about the interest rate, which could be raised from 2% to 10%. Also, no one has complained about the long-term disregard of the agreements between the mayoralty and “Incomlac” JSC for repairing the park fence along Mihai Viteazul street.

Studying the land lease

At the request of the NGO “Association for Human Rights Lex XXI”, the Balti municipality offered copies of the contract. The response to the request was signed by the mayor of Balti, Renato Usatii. The copy of the contract is attached:

As it can be seen from the contract, the tenant represented by “Incomlac” JSC was selected as a result of an auction. This raises questions, since it is surprising that nobody was interested in the plot in the center of the municipality, and the highest rental price for 455 sq. m. was only 2057.14 lei per year.

A separate clause indicates that the land is leased under the “Construction of the branded dairy café  “Мороженное” (Ice Cream)” without the right to sublease.

The title of the contract: “Short-term lease of land”. The lease term is 2 years. The contract is valid from September 15, 2008 to September 14, 2010. Through long-term positive decisions of the municipal council, the “Short-term Land Lease Agreement” of 2008 could be extended until September 2019.

Step One: Project Proposal at the City Planning Council

The beginning of the long-term construction in the Central Park, got started at the City Planning Council on October 22, 2009, which means that “Incomlac” JSC came with the proposal to start a construction, a little over a year after receiving 455 sq.m rent for 37 bani/sq.m. The copy of the City Planning Council protocol is attached:

Agenda: Project proposal for a branded dairy cafe on the Mihai Viteazul street (territory of the central park).

Investor – “Incomlac” JSC

The author of the project – Postolaki V.

The copy [U1] of the Decision of the City Planning Council is attached:

As it can be seen from the protocol of the City Planning Council Decision, the investor represented by “Incomlac” JSC was invited to undertake the improvement of the territory around the construction site, and mainly lay paving slabs at all adjoining walkways, and also replace the park fence along the Mihai Viteazul street. Moreover, the economic agent had the assignment to create parking places.

Step Two: Obtaining a City Planning Certificate

On May 14, 2010, “Incomlac” JSC received the Certificate Nr. 238 from the City Planning Council. The Certificate was signed by:

  1. V. Panchuc – former mayor of Balti
  2. V. Romanchuc – former head of the Architecture and Construction Department, Balti municipality
  3.  B. Gritsunik – former chief architect of Balti municipality
  4. O.  Osledka – former Secretary of the Urban Planning Council
  5.  I. Serdyuk – Secretary of the Balti Municipal Council

The copy of the Certificate is attached:

The Urban Planning Certificate has new stipulations that were not previously mentioned in the City Planning Council Decision dated on 10.22.2009. So, you can see Point Nr. 2, which already refers to the allocation of an Additional plot of land for improvement, as well as for playgrounds. As we see from the document, 455 square meters of land in Central Park, when paying 37 bani per month per square meter, were insufficient for the project.

Step Three: Project Documents

In 2010, “GEO-CAD-PROIECT” Ltd. signed the contract on the elaboration of the Project documents of the future building. The founder of the “GEO-CAD-PROIECT” Ltd. is Natalia Postolaki, the wife of Valerii Postolaki, the manager of the company who, at that time, was also an architect at Balti City Hall. And it is he who presented the preliminary project of this building at the City Planning Council on October 22, 2009. In such a way, we can see how a family business received the contract for the development of the building documents project in the “Central Park”.

On May 14, 2010, the final project documents were elaborated, on the basis of which subsequent Construction Authorizations were issued.

In addition, the General Plan for the project documentation of “Incomlac” JSC was approved by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova. This is confirmed by the protocol Nr. 4 dated on January 04, 2011, by the National Council for Historical Monuments.

At the same time, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova agreed for the economic agent to use additional 185.95 sq. meters of the park area. Taken all together, for the construction, according to the project, were allocated 420 square meters, and next to the building there are 2 more plots with a total area of ​​185.5 square meters. On additional territory, according to the documentation, playgrounds should be equipped.

Step Four: Issuing the Authorization for Construction

Along the whole history of the construction of the three-store café in “the Central Park” there were issued 3 Authorizations for Construction. Hereby, there are presented the authorizations according to the number and persons who signed them:

  1. First Authorization allowing the construction in the “Central Park” had the  Nr. 211 and dated July 20, 2011. It was signed by:
  • V. Panchuk – former Balti mayor
  • O. Mahu – former Balti vice-mayor
  • V. Romanchuk – former head of the Architecture and Construction Department, Balti municipality
  • B. Gritsunik – former chief architect of Balti municipality
  • L. Derevenco – acting Secretary of Balti Municipal Council

The Construction Authorization Nr. 211 was extended for 12 months by a decision of the following officials:

  • V. Panchuk – former Balti mayor
  • O. Mahu – former Balti vice-mayor
  • I. Bucataru – former head of the Architecture and Construction Department, Balti municipality
  • V. Coada – former chief architect of Balti municipality
  • I. Serdiuc – Balti Municipal Council Secretary

2. The second Construction Authorization, Nr. 173 dated August 08,2014, was signed by the following officials:

  • V. Panchuk – former Balti mayor
  • I. Bucataru – former head of the Architecture and Construction Department, Balti municipality
  • I. Serdiuc – Balti Municipal Council Secretary

This authorization was not renewed.

3. The third Authorization allowing the construction of the “Incomlac” cafe on the territory of the historical monument, had the Nr. 193 and was issued on September 18, 2015, being signed by the following officials:

  • L. Babii – acting for Balti mayor
  • I. Bucataru – former head of the Architecture and Construction Department, Balti municipality
  • V. Coada – former chief architect of Balti municipality
  • L. Dovgani – acting Secretary of Balti Municipal Council

The last authorization Nr. 193 was not renewed, thus all of us can understand that since 2016 the construction of this object has been going on without authorization.

Conclusions:

Studying the lease, we see that the rental price is underestimated for 5 times. By giving such a piece of land, it was easy to set a maximum rate of 10%. For 10 years of rent, the city budget received 20 570 lei at a rate of 2%, and could receive an additional 102 850 lei.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the architect, secretary of the City Planning Council, received the order for developing the project documentation after he himself signed the protocol on the future building of “Incomlac” JSC at the meeting of the City Planning Council.

The issue of the authorization Nr. 193 (the third and the last one) in 2015 raises a question. This authorization, like the previous ones, is based on theproject documentation from “GEO-CAD-PROIECT” Ltd. dated 2010. So, according to this project, an additional section of the park is allocated for development, except for 455 square meters of rent. At the same time, this is municipal land, which should be used by the developer, represented by “Incomlac” JSC, for the construction of two playgrounds next to the future cafe. It would be more logical for the authorities to abandon the old project, demanding the economic agent to redo the project documentation without allocation of additional territory. In this case, today, the private entrepreneur has the right to require additional land from the municipality according to the previously agreed, and not canceled, documentation.

This publication has been produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its content is the sole responsibility of the “Mobilization for Monitoring” project and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.


Authors of the material:
Diana Grosu
Vitali Cozearschi

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