Far East | Real estate | Technology & innovation

Yakutia designs ‘black cube’ for Far East high-tech surge

25 Feb '14
Authorities in the Republic of Sakha, a large region in Russia’s Far East also known as Yakutia, have approved an architectural design for the area’s first IT Park, a construction project initially announced a year ago with a 2015 deadline. The project will take the form of a large black 12-story cube with a winter garden, East-West Digital News, the first all English-language online resource dedicated to Russian digital industries, reported last week, citing a source in the Sakha Government.

Now slated for completion in early 2016, the park will be located in Yakutsk, the region’s capital, and is expected to deplete regional coffers by an estimated $23m.

In addition to facilitating IT development as its core activity, the future facility will also accommodate regional innovation companies working in the fields of biotechnology, nanotechnology and cryotechnology.

Responsible for project design and the search for residents is the Yakutia Techno-park, the region’s original government-owned techno-park set up in late 2011 as a combination of business incubator, proof-of-concept center and early-stage accelerator.

The new techno-park is expected to help resident innovators bypass a number of problems typically daunting for young companies, such as prohibitive office rents and high Internet access rates. The overall goal is to “give additional impetus to the development of information technologies in the region and to the promotion of local software products in Russia and beyond.”

A private-public partnership (PPP) is envisioned to fund the new construction effort. Until private investors are found, Yakutia’s Republican Investment Company will remain the largest shareholder. RIC is a nine year old entity 100% owned by the region and aimed at attracting investors into Yakutia’s economy while steering investment and innovation policy.

The IT park venture is part of a much broader $460m Olonkho Land project, an ambitious effort designed to promote both the cultural heritage and the economic potential of this far-flung Russian area.

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is by far the largest single province of Russia—and at five times the size of France, the largest national-territorial subdivision in the world. It is an area awash in natural resources. But with winter temperatures dipping to lows unparalleled elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere (minus 50-70 degrees Celsius), the region supports a population of less than a million and has a very sparse habitation density (less than 0.3 persons per square kilometer).
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