The Kyiv Post’s new home on Zhylian­ska Street is in the midst of a trans­for­ma­tion

Kyiv Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Yana Mokhonchuk yanamokhon­chuk@ gmail.com

Kyiv’s Zhylian­ska Street is look­ing less and less like the bustling in­dus­trial cen­ter it used to be.

Over the course of sev­eral decades, its plants and fac­to­ries have given way to of­fice build­ings and new hous­ing, a trans­for­ma­tion to a new busi­ness clus­ter and pop­u­la­tion cen­ter that is still un­der way.

Its new char­ac­ter is still tak­ing shape.

One of the street’s newly-con­structed high-rise build­ings has re­cently be­come the Kyiv Post’s new head­quar­ters. Mainly hous­ing res­i­den­tial apart­ments, the 23-story build­ing at 68 Zhylian­ska St. was de­vel­oped by the KADORR Group, the con­struc­tion gi­ant owned by

Ad­nan Ki­van, the news­pa­per’s pub­lisher.

What was there be­fore? A two-story build­ing that housed a shoe store.

The change is the latest turn in Zhylian­ska’s on­go­ing jour­ney.

His­tory of the street

The three-kilo­me­ter Zhylian­ska Street runs through three dis­tricts: Holosi­ivskyi, Pech­er­sky and Shevchenki­vsky. It starts in the cap­i­tal’s cen­ter, close to Olimpiyska metro sta­tion, and ends near Vokzalna metro sta­tion.

The his­tory of Zhylian­ska dates back to at least the first half of the 19th cen­tury.

Un­like with most other cen­tral streets, the ori­gin of Zhylian­ska’s name is a mys­tery. There are sev­eral ver­sions ex­plain­ing how the street got its name. It might have orig­i­nated from the an­cient pa­gan Slavic god­dess of sad­ness Zheli. Or it could have evolved from the old Slavic term for a river bank, “zhal,” from “zhilka,” the name of a type of fish that used to dwell in the an­cient Ly­bid River, or the small river Zhe­lan, men­tioned in the 10931163 chron­i­cles of Kyi­van Rus.

In 1926, Zhylian­ska was re­named as Zhadanivsk­oho Street af­ter Ukrainian sol­dier Bo­rys Zhadanivsk­y, a par­tic­i­pant of the 1905 Rus­sian Revo­lu­tion, which brought con­sti­tu­tional re­form of the Rus­sian Em­pire. It stayed like that un­til 1993, when Zhylian­ska re­gained its his­tor­i­cal name two years into Ukraine’s in­de­pen­dence as a na­tion.

Lo­cal res­i­dents and friends Ok­sana Anikina, 75, and Natalia Abramova,

69, have both lived on Zhylian­ska for more than 50 years. They rem­i­nisce that in the 20th cen­tury, when the street was called Zhadanivsk­oho, there was a big Jewish com­mu­nity liv­ing there. They also say that, back then, the street was better taken care of, com­pared to now.

“Then, the street used to be cleaned, new trees were planted, and the build­ings weren’t (cramped) one upon the other,” they told the Kyiv Post.

The res­i­dents also have warm mem­o­ries of a lo­cal out­door cin­ema, which stood next to the Kyiv Na­tional Operetta The­ater on the cor­ner of Zhylian­ska and Ve­lyka Va­sylkivska streets. It has since been de­mol­ished.

“We loved com­ing there in sum­mer and watch­ing movies in the night­fall,” Abramova says.

In­dus­trial Zhylian­ska

Back in the day, the street was home to many large en­ter­prises: the first dairy fac­tory in Kyiv, elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing plant Transsig­nal, ma­chine-build­ing plant Lenin­ska Kuznya, named af­ter Vladimir Lenin, Gorky gar­ment fac­tory and oth­ers.

The 23 Zhylian­ska St. ad­dress used to be home of a fa­mous choco­late fac­tory Fran­cois. It started as a con­fec­tionery work­shop founded by Pol­ish mer­chant Franz Golombek in 1874. At the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury, Golombek also es­tab­lished a ho­tel on the street, called Fur­nished House Fran­cois.

The former choco­late fac­tory’s ad­dress now be­longs to the State Tax Ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Holosi­ivskyi District.

An­other prom­i­nent en­ter­prise on Zhylian­ska Street was the Kyiv Dairy Plant. It opened in 1930 at what is now 47 Zhylian­ska St., across from the Kyiv Post of­fice.

The plant op­er­ated for over seven decades, up un­til 2007. Lo­cals still re­call the tasti­ness of the sweet cot­tage cheese it pro­duced. Through

the years of Ukraine’s in­de­pen­dence, the plant and its two-hectare land plot have been sold sev­eral times. Around 2007, the plant was de­mol­ished, and the pre­cious land soon resold. At about the same time, the Kyiv City Coun­cil changed the land’s sta­tus from in­dus­trial to res­i­den­tial, al­low­ing the new own­ers to de­velop apart­ment build­ings on the plot.

Ac­cord­ing to a plan de­vel­oped by the ar­chi­tec­tural bureau Kra­mall Stu­dio in 2011, the then-own­ers planned to build a 21-story of­fice and ho­tel com­plex there. That never

hap­pened.

The plot was resold in 2019 again, re­port­edly to a Ukrainian sub­sidiary of Turk­ish de­vel­oper Me­tal Yapi Konut. Ac­cord­ing to the public registry, a Ukrainian com­pany, Blue­stone LLC, now owns the land. The com­pany plans to de­velop a high-rise “mul­ti­func­tional com­plex” there. The Kyiv Post couldn’t reach Blue­stone LLC for com­ment.

How­ever, many lo­cals aren’t on board with the idea of a high-rise build­ing ap­pear­ing on the former plant’s land, which has been va­cant

for years. Some of them sub­mit­ted a pe­ti­tion through the Kyiv City Coun­cil’s web­site, de­mand­ing the cre­ation of a land­scape park in­stead.

“Today the ter­ri­tory is a waste­land, and the fence around it is rather un­ap­peal­ing,” the pe­ti­tion reads.

The land plot is sub­ject of at least two law­suits. The de­vel­oper sued the city for per­mis­sion doc­u­men­ta­tion to start con­struc­tion – and won in early Septem­ber. Mean­while, a non-profit pro­tect­ing Kyiv heritage is su­ing to stop the devel­op­ment.

Mod­ern Zhylian­ska

Kyiv re­searcher and au­thor of the book “Kyiv for Ro­man­tics,” Vik­tor Kirkevych, writes that ev­ery­thing about Zhylian­ska has changed over the years: its length, width, pur­pose, name and the so­cial, ethno­graphic and po­lit­i­cal com­po­si­tion of the pop­u­la­tion.

Mod­ern Zhylian­ska of­fers a con­trast­ing view con­sist­ing of of­fice tow­ers and old brick apart­ment blocks.

It ac­com­mo­dates the Mi­crosoft Ukraine of­fice, the Eura­sia and 101 Tower busi­ness cen­ters, the of­fice of Bri­tish Coun­cil, the UK’s in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion for cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties, and the of­fice of Deloitte, an in­ter­na­tional au­dit and man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm.

There are many restau­rants, beauty sa­lons, flower shops and stores. Among oth­ers, the street is home to Sam’s Steak House, Moloto Ze­leno café and Chi­nese eatery Bruce Lee, as well as a popular pre­mium-class gym, Smar­tass.

Ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Plan of Kyiv, a doc­u­ment that of­fers strate­gic plan­ning of city devel­op­ment, Zhylian­ska Street is con­sid­ered “at­trac­tive for in­vest­ment” and is ex­pected to house more ad­min­is­tra­tive, of­fice and ware­house fa­cil­i­ties in the fu­ture.

The devel­op­ment of the street is wel­comed by lo­cal busi­nesses. Sam’s Steak House, a restaurant that opened on 37 Zhylian­ska St. in 1995, has wit­nessed the changes since then.

“We’re happy that the street is be­ing de­vel­oped and be­com­ing more lively,” Yana Selezny­ova, a man­ager at Sam’s Steak House, told the Kyiv Post. “We’re ex­pect­ing more vis­i­tors, too.”

Look­ing west, the view on Sept. 11, 2020, from the roof of the 23-story build­ing at 68 Zhylian­ska St., de­vel­oped by the KADORR Group. The Odesa-based con­struc­tion com­pany, one of the largest do­ing busi­ness in Ukraine, is owned by Kyiv Post pub­lisher Ad­nan Ki­van. The news­pa­per on Sept. 1, 2020, moved into its new of­fice on the sec­ond floor of the build­ing. A two-story build­ing that housed a shoe store used to oc­cupy the site.

The plot at 47 Zhylian­ska St., where the Kyiv Dairy Plant op­er­ated un­til 2007, is the scene of a devel­op­ment dis­pute. While the owner is plan­ning to con­struct a “mul­ti­func­tional” high-rise com­lex there, some lo­cals de­mand that a park be cre­ated there.

The three-kilo­me­ter long Zhylian­ska Street starts at Shota Rus­taveli Street, near Olympiyska metro sta­tion, on its eastern side. It be­comes Bor­shchahivsk­a Street near the in­tere­sec­tion of Povit­roflot­skyi Av­enue on its western end, north­west of Vokzalna metro sta­tion. For most of its length, it runs par­al­lel with Sakhsa­han­skoho Street, one block to the south or south­west. The 23-story KADORR Group build­ing is a new land­mark at 68 Zhylian­ska St., be­tween Pankivska and Tara­sivska streets.

A man crosses Zhylian­ska Street, east of the KADORR Group build­ing that houses the Kyiv Post, on Sept. 15, 2020 in Kyiv. The street’s his­tory dates back to at least the first half of the 19th cen­tury, while the ori­gin of its name re­mains un­clear. Its char­ac­ter used to be in­dus­trial and there are still rem­nants of that era. It once housed a dairy plant, elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing plant, ma­chine-build­ing plant, gar­ment fac­tory and choco­late fac­tory.

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