How to lease 10 000 sq.m office for IT-company in Saint-Petersburg

First it is necessary to understand that "Peter-Service" is a large domestic IT company, the first developer of billing systems in Russia. The company has been working on the market for 25 years, it’s history began in 1992 in the office with an area of 200 sq. m. For the years of active work the company was growing up and began to occupy the office of 7000 sq m in «Goldex» business center.


The head office of the company is located in Saint -Petersburg, branches are located in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk, Samara and Vladivostok. Since 2008 the company has the subsidiary office "Peter-Service Ukraine" located in Kiev. In total the company employs more than 1,200 people.

Еkaterina Gromova, HR manager at «Peter Service»

More than two years ago we understood that there are no more opportunities for growth in Goldex business center and we started a search for a new office in Saint-Petersburg. Taking into account the specifics of our activity, company size, amount of staff, we had a number of serious requirements which should be considered. On the one hand, we needed a large office area with an emphasis on open spaces to improve the efficiency of internal communication within the team, on the other hand, the ratio between rental rate and the quality of the object was very important. In addition, there were several requirements for infrastructure and location. For more than two years, Saint-Petersburg consulting companies sent dozens of options which did not suit us for one or another reason.

All consultants of the city knew that "Peter-Service" was looking for a new office and their representatives met with the executives of «Peter-Service». In this case, the competition was very high. A t the beginning of the office search “the struggle for the client» has reached a new level because of the following factors: Gazprom has bought up and leased many objects, crisis wept through the market, partially freezing the projects, investors were reluctant to invest in the new projects – "the struggle for the client" has reached a new level. In spite of this, "competition" was completely open: each consultant knew all of the objects of the city, everyone understood the requirements for "Peter-Service" office. And the requirements were sufficient. The advantage of working with "Peter-service" was the fact , that they had a very definite understanding of which key factors new office must meet and they took into consideration both the interests of shareholders and employees.

Ivan Pochinshchikov managing partner, IPG.Estate

To be honest I should note that our negotiations with Peter-Service representatives has started a long before the active phase of the project, about 6 years ago. The client had a complete understanding of the objects and brokers which works in our city.

We started working on this project basing on the following requirements:

  • open space premise in a one plane for approximately 800-900 employees; 
  • quality engineering supply: ventilation, internal systems, good communication channels; 
  • compliance with security requirements, the possibility of controlling the entrance area; 
  • the possibility of implementing the own design in the spacious interior of the object; 
  • the most convenient location of the object, so that employees from all areas of the city could comfortably get to work.

The location of the object should combine urban planning and environment, responding to the modern trends.

Analysis and preparation: which difficulties we met?

It would seem that for such a conservative city as Saint-Petersburg, the possibility of combining the urban style and eco-friendliness, and also with the available location is something "impossible". But for «Peter-Service» a modern and dynamic IT-company, multiple winner of the HR-brand award, taking care of the employees is a priority. So this requirements were necessary to implement. It is not a secret that IT industry is one of the most revealing industries which creates favorable conditions for it’s employees today. Leading companies specializing in the field of information technology, are striving to offer employees a comfortable working environment, creating offices with unique design, expanding the infrastructure, thinking about the friendly environment. «Peter-Service» fully adheres this trend.

The office we search should be large and have a big amount of open spaces. It is easy to implement 200-300 sq m office area concept to the object, but it is simply harder to work with 1000-2000 square meter offices, and it is very hard to implement 4000-5000 sq m office concept to the object. It is important to consider the presence of natural and artificial light, the number of columns, high ceilings, a sufficient amount of air in the room. According to this criterion, we excluded almost all buildings in the historic center of St. Petersburg –we had to sacrifice much options during reconstruction (for example, laying communications would lead to the reduction of the height of the ceilings).

In addition, as it was already mentioned that all consulting companies of the city were working with "Peter-Service". The client has already seen a lot of objects and different decisions, and it was necessary to provide him with exactly that object that comes closest to his ideal image.

Reconnaissance: business center, loft, factory

In 99% in most cases the biggest problem is that the tenant cannot visualize how a company can stay in the object. It often plays a negative role during the selection process. We chose a different way by offering a concept for placing the company office in a particular object. It was very important to create a quality project design here because it would put emphasis on the key parameters required by the tenant, and also would reveal the pros and cons of the object.

zavod_arsenal«Arsenal» plant

The experts have analyzed dozens of buildings and created dozens of concepts trying to implement company office to the object. In fact, we checked just about 5-7 objects, including elevator spaces such as the premises at "Arsenal" factory. It is an unique project, a brick building with 200 years history, with the green zone and the opportunity to create an office. On the one hand, the tenant was not able to see the company in this object, despite the proposed concept and on the other hand, the conception of the building requires a significant amount of investment, in addition, the building is an architectural monument, therefore, there would be a number of requirements from the Committee of architectural monuments protection.

Fragment of the comparative table for discussing objects with the client

We considered options for the organization of the loft office in one of the historical areas and also modern business centers, however, which were are located in a some distance from the city center. In the latter case it was possible to lease almost finished office, however, the company should leave the city center. But very soon we have found a variant which combined both the advantages of a modern office and proximity to the historic center, and hastened to present this variant to the client.

Stage № 2: solution is found

We knew that the reconstruction business-center "Smolenskiy" on the Ural street which is located in a walking distance from the metro station Vasileostrovskaya is going to the end. It was theoretically possible to place the office with an area of about 2700 square meters in this business center. And it was desired by the client option located in one of the central regions of the city

On the first stage of the negotiations both parties were satisfied with the proposed terms.

BTC_Smolenskij_na_ul._Uralskaya

Smolenskiy business center on Uralskaya street

The landlord was flexible – he was willing to meet the tenant needs and to consider the lease proposal , in which he is not doing the repair of the premises. When you rent 9273 sq m office, the landlord is also ready to lease about 400 sq m of the roof space which can be used as an outdoor terrace. It should be noted that the roof of the building has amazing view to the city: you can see "Petrovsky" stadium and the historic center.

We examined the object for 3 times during the first stage of approval. First time we visited the object when it was under construction without a façade part. At that time, the object has not made the proper impression. When the facade work was done in conjunction with construction of adjacent "Samotsveti" residential project, the object showed itself in new way.

We divided second stage into 2 parts. First part included a video stream, for which we were preparing as the students before the test. We prepared showing algorithm which clearly show the advantages and disadvantages of the building. We Choose dry informative presentation form – just imagined that the shareholders hear about this subject for the first time. We didn't say "this is a unique facility that fully meets all the requirements," we spoke openly about the cons – next to a new residential construction, , with an industrial area nearby , the western high-speed diameter is not opened yet. We exactly talked about the pros in the same format.

One more approval finished. Then we visited the object, viewed all the offices and the roof. We was preparing more thoroughly for this stage. During the roof inspection somebody looked down and drew attention to the yard where a lonely fir tree was growing in a paved platform. Here it is – urbanism and eco-friendliness!

Nothing depend on us further – the third stage was budget negotiations.

Thunder from a clear sky: lengthy and strong-willed decisions

The third stage was delayed. It took more than 2 months, which was justified by the volume of investments in the construction of a new office in "Smolensky" business center.

When we received confirmation from "Peter-Service" and were ready to sign the lease, we received an unexpected answer from the Landlord – he asked to delay the signing, citing the fact that negotiations are underway with two potential tenants

We could not affect the Landlord. We had either to take ourselves in the hands or to Google the most powerful sedative..

Igor Kalinichev, Administrative manager at «Peter Service»

On the one hand we did not expect to hear such an answer, but on the other hand, we, ourselves, gave the final answer a little later than planned, because we tried to consider all opinions in the company. Also like any large company there is a need to harmonize all processes and the costs. But we knew which company is negotiating with the landlord, we have good partnerships with them for a long time , so we were quietly waiting for the decision of the second party. Then the Landlord has found a way to solve this situation.

The Landlord took a strong-willed decision to conclude the lease contracts with two tenants: "Peter-Service", and with company from the similar industry.

The waiting period, of course , was difficult for us, but we tried to bring the situation under control by the means of negotiations with the Landlord. A sedative has not been necessary .

Summary

The result of our 1.5 year work became the conclusion of the transaction, which became one of the largest in St. Petersburg market for the last time, excluding the oil and gas segment. IPG.Estate were nominated for СRE Moscow Awards 2017 in the "deal of the year" nominee.

The lease contract is signed for 5 years.

At the moment, "Peter-Service" conducts the finishing of the offices and the roof. The project provides a creative office space for employees: various coffee points, recreational areas, stand-up areas, modern meeting rooms, bicycle parking and so on.

The company will occupy 9273 sq. m of the office area and 400 sq m of the roof. It is almost 2/3 of the building. "Peter-Service" as the anchor tenant leases not only office space, but also common areas, which means plus 20-30% to the volume of usable area. .

Igor Kalinichev, Administrative manager at «Peter Service»

At the moment we are making office renovation according to a project of the one of the largest architectural firms in Russia - UNK-Projeсt. We are planning to move here in the autumn. It will run about 800-900 people. One of the advantages of this object is the roof, which we can exploit. It's not about following fashion trends, to use this roof, but it is a great opportunity to organize the recreation area for employees where they can relax during the day. Additionally, this area is suitable for corporate events. I hope that the new office will be one of the best offices among the IT companies in Russia and will become one of the trademarks of "Peter-Service"

Andrei Svistunov, office department manager at IPG.Estate

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