2020 December-January Analysis

Moedani, a place to _____: revitalizing Tbilisi’s Avlabari district

Avlabari has long been one of Tbilisi’s neglected jewels, experiencing little of the revitalization that many of Tbilisi’s even more suburban and less exotic districts have been privileged to in recent years.

Development company Moedani wants to put an end to the trend, and give Avlabari the chance at a vibrant urban life it deserves—it was, after all, a former center of Tbilisi’s cultural and economic life. Moedani plans to do so by enclosing a sprawling square with four low-rise buildings with 220 apartments, as well as a 100-room hotel in a fifth building. The ground level will be for commercial spaces—restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries, coworking spaces, and other businesses that the Moedani administration will ‘curate.’

The businesses ‘let into’ the square will be selected to represent a broad array of cuisines and entertainment, because “the objective is not to simply build another housing development, but to create a new go-to location in the city, to transplant the soul of an Italian-style piazza into Tbilisi,” Moedani Director Vakhtang Gurgenidze told Investor.ge, noting that a thorough study of the market conducted by the developer showed that there were few if any developments in Tbilisi that have combined residential and commercial spaces in a seamless, aesthetically pleasing manner.

Moedani chose to construct low-rise buildings to ensure that the development will blend in with the rest of the district and not distort the architecture and atmosphere of Old Tbilisi.

The name of the development project reflects the spirit of what it is trying to accomplish: Moedani in Georgian means ‘square.’ In Avlabari, historically a multicultural and central part of Tbilisi, squares were the meeting grounds for people from all parts of the city. Moedani thus wants to return this old aspect of Avlabari life, only in a modern context.

Located in the heart of the district on Nikifore Irbakhi Street near Avlabari metro station, the area is convenient for both vehicle and pedestrian access, and located within walking distance to both the Holy Trinity Cathedral [Sameba] and one of Tbilisi’s nightlife districts, Shardeni Street.

Entrance into the square will be free and open to the public, but measures will be in place to ensure security and peace of mind for residents as well.

Apartments have proven popular with investors, which have accounted for about 70% of purchasers, Gurgenidze told Investor.ge, while another 30% have bought apartments as places of residence.

“Interest in the development and its apartments has been soaring despite the coronavirus crisis,” Moedani Director Vakhtang Gurgenidze says, noting “this just goes to show that there was pent-up demand for new Avlabari offerings.”

“Sales are proceeding far better than we predicted. We even broke the goals we set for ourselves before the pandemic set in—a clear indicator that new approaches to living spaces in Tbilisi are more than in demand,” Gurgenidze says, commenting on the development company’s decision to reopen its sales office during these uncertain times.

Few purchasers made use of the Georgian government’s offer to subsidize the interest rate on the purchase of new apartments during the crisis. This was due to the fact that Moedani introduced new purchase plans to the Tbilisi real estate market:

“Purchasers are able to buy our apartments on truly special, unprecedented terms. They pay just 20% up front in the first two years, and then another 80% after the flat is handed over, payable either in full or through a partner bank.”

Construction of the project is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2022.