New Heart Of Moscow Lies In ZiL Car Plant

© Nikolay Semenov / WikiCommons
© Nikolay Semenov / WikiCommons
The ZiL Car Plant in Southeast Moscow used to be a bustling industrial hub, as well as Russia’s first car factory. Since 2011 the Moscow authorities have been pushing for a regeneration of the ZiL district and the real estate company, LSR Group, is planning to spearhead the task. The project aims to create a residential and commercial district as well as make sure the factory functions efficiently.
© kishjar / Flickr 

ZiL stands for the name one of the factory’s directors, Zavod Imeni Likhachyova, after the factory went through a few different names under the Bolsheviks and Joseph Stalin. The factory sprawled over a 400-hectare space that has been losing money due to inefficiency caused by its size, making Moscow anxious to redevelop the area. A former ZiL engineer told the Moscow Times that they would continue to add onto the site instead of reconstructing it for efficiency, sometimes leading to certain parts being driven across the entire factory to be installed in its appropriate machine.

Within the new construction, the LSR Group plans to keep some examples of neoclassical architecture such as office buildings built around the time of WWI. They will contrast with the new construction, but the historical value in the structures is too important to destroy. The plant itself is historic as it was Russia’s first car plant, which has had many functions from repairing cars for the Bolsheviks to producing fridges and church bells.

Although the project would be beneficial for the efficiency of the factory and the culture of the city, there is skepticism due to the ambitious nature of the project. There are fears that the company might not have enough money to go through with the designs, due to the fact that they are already offering to sell apartments in buildings that do not exist. Mayor Soyanin is also weary due to the failure of the Moscow-City business district’s reconstruction, as well as other reconstruction projects, leaving skyscrapers to poke into the sky while empty and unfinished.