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A breakdown of Astana's building boom

It is now 18 years since Kazakhstan moved its capital from Almaty to Astana. One of the main reasons for the switch was the huge amount of land around it available to build on, and almost non-stop construction since then has shaped the distinct and beautiful Astana of today.

Now, investment from Kazakh and international investors – and, of course, the upcoming Expo 17 world fair – are adding even more housing, commercial buildings, hotels, shopping centres, schools, hospitals and much more to the Astana cityscape. Here are some of the biggest construction projects set for completion this year – sector by sector.


Expo 17 - peak construction period approaches

115 hectares of land will be built on as Astana prepares to host the Expo 17 world fair, and with just two years until the opening ceremony, work is well underway. The main structures needed are the national pavilions, the organisers’ office, a dedicated shopping and entertainment centre, and residential buildings. The plan for Expo 17 also includes redevelopment work in Astana itself – a revamp of transport, utilities and social infrastructure to help construction run as smoothly as possible.

According to Adilbek Zhaksybekov, who is both Mayor of Astana and chairman of the national company formed to organise the Expo, most of the building work will be finished by 2016. But the organisers’ building will be ready by autumn of this year – its façade is practically finished – meaning it can be used to host the various delegations visiting Astana in the run-up to the opening ceremony. Zhaksybekov has also confirmed that excavation and piling work on the Expo shopping and entertainment centre is now complete.

Overall, 2015 should be the year when building work for the Expo reaches its peak. Kazakhstan’s pavilion is currently having its supporting metal structures installed, and the pavilion is looking good for its December 2016 completion target. The other international pavilions should be finished slightly earlier, by August 2016. Housing at the Expo site, financed and built by Kazakh companies, is scheduled for completion by October 2016, and main roads in Astana will be extended to the site in 2017.

Meanwhile, Astana’s airport will be doubled in size in preparation for the expo. Redevelopment is planned for its runways, and a new 45,000 sqm passenger terminal will be ready to welcome up to 1.5 million international visitors flying in for the Expo. Other construction work to get Astana ready for the event includes a 50 MW solar power plant, enough to power 10,000 apartment, and new three, four and five star hotels to cope with the influx of visitors.


Residential construction – 86 developments underway

Expo-related construction aside, Astana’s efforts to boost its housing stock are also driving the city’s construction boom. According to mayoral statistics, 86 residential developments will be finished by the end of this year, among them many-storied apartment blocks as well as multiple-occupancy houses and dormitories. One such development will provide 60,000 sqm of accommodation for students at Nazarbayev University, and other projects include two blocks of 3,500 and 3,700 sqm in the Zhagalau micro-region, in addition to various other developments across the city.


Commercial premises and shopping malls

Commercial construction in Astana is taking a back seat this year, as the city’s building capacity focuses on housebuilding and Expo preparations. Nevertheless, there are still quite a few projects due for completion this year. 13,000 sqm of office space is under construction, and eight brand new malls will provide nearly 50,000 sqm of retail space for Astana’s shoppers.


Schools and hospitals

Eight kindergartens will open in Astana this year, says the mayor’s office, offering 1,960 places for parents to choose from. A major development on Turkestan Street in southern Astana accounts for over 10% of this new capacity, and the Koktal-2 area will get a brand new specialised healthcare centre where children can be cared for around the clock. Three kindergartens in the Urker region will contribute a further 240 places, two facilities are being built in the Komsomolsky neighbourhood, and a huge, 240-child preschool is being planned for the capital.

On the healthcare front, a 250-bed hospital is being built on Kabankai Batyra, the Zheleznodorozhny area will get a anti-tubercular clinic with room for 500 patients, and work is underway on an outpatient complex and medical rehabilitation centre on the left bank of Astana’s main river, the Akbulak.


Other projects – McDonald’s, car parks, and more

- Astana is about to get its first McDonald’s – the first in Kazakhstan, in fact – and the city’s residents have been keeping a close eye on its progress. Set to be located on the site of a former hospital on Kabanbay Batyra, plans for the project have been approved, demolition work on the old structure has begun, and the landmark McDonald’s should start serving up its first Happy Meals by the New Year.

- Astana’s mayoral administration has also confirmed 200 new recycling points the city this year, continuing efforts to make Astana’s economy greener. “A pilot sorting project was launched on 1 March 2015. To create the necessary infrastructure for this, 108 containers have been provided at 54 recycling points. The project is running in 36 residential blocks,” said the city’s Deputy Mayor, Kosman Aitmuhamedov.

- Public-private partnerships are building 10 new car parks in Astana this year. The construction will come in two stages – three car parks with spaces for 1,800 vehicles will be ready by the end of this year, and further new capacity of 4,000 cars across seven new sites.

- The Spiritual Administration of Muslims in Kazakhstan, the country’s national Islamic organisation which oversees the construction of all Kazakh mosques, is building a new head office on a 1.5 hectare site between the Hazret Sultan mosque and the US Embassy. The 11,000 square metre complex will house several offices, a main and smaller hall, a sports complex, a library and accommodation for the administration’s staff. It will be ready be the end of 2015.

- Finally, Astanans will not have to wait too long to benefit from the final project in this list – a major extension to the Astana Bike scheme, which will now offer bikes at 150 solar-powered locations around the city. “By the end of July we will have opened 110 new hire points across the city to add to the existing ones – there will be around 150 in Astana in total,” said Almagul Kasymova, director of Velobike.kz. “We have already agreed the new stations with the mayoral administration so we will gradually open them, and we’ll also organise tours for journalists and the cycling community.”


All these projects show Astana’s building sector is in rude health, and developers, buyers and architects in the city are always looking for new suppliers and fresh ideas for products to use in their products. The AstanaBuild exhibition, the leading and largest trade show for the city’s construction sector, is the only place you can meet these buyers and decision makers in one place. Check the show’s website to find out more, or talk to us today about how you can take part.


Source (adapted translation)

Photo - Alex J. Butler, via Flickr

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