At the quarterly meeting with CEOs of IT companies Lviv IT Cluster has presented the largest infrastructure project of independent Ukraine – Innovation District IT Park. Since the meeting was held at the old tram depot, Lem Station – the revitalization project of this place was presented as well. We went to the meeting and learnt more about these projects, as well as, innovative approaches to the city’s infrastructure.
“IT Park means that Lviv IT companies are moving away from using the existing infrastructure to creating a new one” – says Stepan Veselovskyi, Lviv IT Cluster CEO.
The word district appeared at the name of the project for a reason. IT Park – a complex consisting of everything you can possibly need for comfortable work and leisure. Not only Lviv IT Cluster, but also DTZ and the biggest Lviv IT companies, which took part in a survey about the priority of different components, contributed to defining the concept. In total, DTZ surveyed 35 companies with 200 employees or more, who are renting in total 85 000 m2 (out of 120 000 m2 occupied by IT companies).
The survey showed not only the importance of the IT Park project, but also problems that Lviv is still facing, which can be solved with its help.
“Lack of parking space – is the first problem. This is a weak point for all IT companies. Also there are problems with heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, lack of elevators etc. Many offices are renovated without all these standards met. Often officially registered standards are not enough for IT companies. Lack of space for future office expansion – is also one of the problems” – comments Stepan Veselovskyi.
In connection with all of the above, office facilities will be the basis of the project. Yes, there will be 2 business centers and 6 office buildings for rent. The organizers are confident, that they will be able to completely fill the office space since, according to the survey, 91% of Lviv IT companies CEOs are ready to relocate into more comfortable offices.
However, IT Park won’t consist of offices only. It is extremely important to provide the Innovation District with all components for comfortable staying:
“You can build a great office, but often you cannot influence the surroundings” – says Stepan Veselovskyi.
However, at IT Park companies will be able to influence what’s outside. Based on the survey results, the organizers determined what should be there, except for offices.
More than 90% of directors agreed that would love to see a kindergarten there. The average age of people working in IT – 27 years. That is the time, when people start to have children, so it is important for them to balance work and communication with their kids. Since the kindergarten will be located right next to offices, it will be convenient for parents to bring children there, as well as have lunch together. Most importantly, at children will not only spend time, but learn according to the latest practices at this kindergarten.
Companies will no longer need to include fitness facilities in the office package – there will be a fitness center located next to the offices. Employees of all surveyed companies have unanimously voted for that.
Moreover, a 3-star hotel will be located at IT Park (more than 50% of the surveyed directors voted for it), which will enable IT specialists and their business-partners to conduct negotiations without wasting time commuting around the city. It will include conference facilities, which will be provided in office buildings as well. In general, more than 80% of directors expressed the importance of conference facilities.
IT Park will serve as a work place not only for IT specialists, but students as well. A university campus will be located there, or more precisely – a complex of labs for practical classes. In particular, more than 70% of respondents supported this idea. Organizers are planning to cooperate with the most progressive technical programs of the city: MSc in Technology Management at Lviv Business School, Internet of Things at Lviv National Polytechnic University and Computer Science at UCU.
Owing to the fact, that there will be a shopping mall located within the IT Park, there always will be an active flow of people. Shopping mall will create extra conveniences for IT specialists – they won’t need to go far for shopping. Furthermore, there will be a huge food-court, able to accommodate thousands of employees. Outside of all these buildings will be a park, of course.
Organizers are promising to complete all bureaucratic issues by 2017 and begin the construction in the end of the year already.
According to Stepan Veselovskyi, IT Park – is a part of the competitiveness strategy of Lviv, adopted back in 2010.
“This strategy differentiates IT-industry and tourism as priorities of the city. We have outnumbered the key figures we have set for ourselves. Lviv IT Cluster is a part of this strategy. Projects similar to IT Park are also a part of the strategy, since the city’s economy will be developing through IT-industry”.
Lem Station – a project, which will give new life to the tram depot on Sakharova St. Currently, there are three hangars there, built back in the 19th century. They are not in use for a long time, that’s why the premises are desolated. When the team of organizers came to check one of the hangars for the first time, it was simply full of trash. In two weeks they managed to clear out only half of the hangar. That’s where the General Assembly Meeting of Lviv IT Cluster took place.
There is a lot of work ahead – finishing the cleanup and renovation. However, the organizers want to preserve the place as much as possible, not deprive it of its authenticity. This is not the only goal. In the future it is planned to create a co-working with a few hundred work places, a creative space for students – Makerspace, a hospital, kids station – a centre for development of children’s social initiatives. Moreover, it is planned to build 60 offices which will accommodate bigger companies and Tram Station – a creative space for open air events.
The philosophy of Lem Station – to be open for all creative initiatives. It’s a place for their development.
“It should be full of life” – says Oleh Matsekh, one of the organizers.
IT Park and Lem Station – are different projects. But they share the same values: creating new comfortable infrastructure for business development in Lviv, great attention to the issues of education and a desire to create a favorable ecosystem for everybody. This way, in the very near future Lviv will transform not only into the most IT city in Ukraine, but also into the most comfortable one in all respects.