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Kyiv City Council suspends second auction for iconic food market due to public uproar

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 12, 2024 8:20 PM 2 min read
Zhytniy Market in Kyiv, Ukraine on 2 Nov., 2023 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Dominic Culverwell/The Kyiv Independent)
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Kyiv City Council suspended the auction for the lease on the  capital's Zhytniy Market for the second time, the council's press service reported on April 15.

The Soviet-era market was built in its striking modernist in 1980 on a site in the Podil neighborhood which had been used for trade since the times of Kyivan Rus.

Years of neglect have left the building in a poor state, with leaking ceilings and no central heating for the dozens of businesses selling everything from cheese to Ukrainian embroidered shirts.

The market was initially put up for a 15-year lease with rent starting at Hr 2.5 million ($67,000) per month on March 19, according to the National Electronic Exchange.

This decision was widely criticized due to the suspiciously short five-day bidding period that could have meant a predetermined winner and led to the wave of uproar online.

Celebrity chef and activist Yevhen Klopotenko said that the Zhytniy Market could meet the same fate as Kyiv's Sinnyi Market, which was demolished in 2005 despite protests.

The auction for the market was postponed on April 15, but it will not happen as well due to the public's reaction, concerned about the threat to the building's architectural and cultural heritage.

"Considering the resonance in Kyiv's community about Zhytniy Market's preservation and its intended purpose, we have decided not to conduct the auction now," Volodymyr Kostikov, head of Kyiv City Council's Industry and Business Development Department, said.

Kostikov added that the Kyiv City Council plans to develop new contest terms and requirements for the potential lessee in collaboration with local residents. "We need more time for it," he said.

According to Kostikov, making urgent major repairs and preserving the market remain the key lease conditions.

"The concept vision of the market's renaissance must be necessarily agreed with Kyivans," he said .

Kyiv at risk of losing iconic market to development
Kyiv’s City Council canceled an auction for the capital’s iconic Zhytniy Market after accusations that the competition was unfair but activists warn the modernist building is still at risk. This wouldn’t be the first time Kyiv has lost its architectural heritage to developers looking for new real e…
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