Interview with LvivTech.City team: “The project has everything you need to run a business, even in wartime”

14th of April, Ukrainian businessman Vasyl Khmelnytsky, founder of UFuture and UNIT.City, announced the further construction of the innovation park LvivTech.City. The decision to complete the project despite the war has several reasons: creating conditions for talented Ukrainians and IT professionals to stay in the country and relaunch the economy, which is an essential front for victory.

We visited LvivTech City, the first building recently opened for residents, met with the team, and discussed the innovation park’s aim, concept, and priorities in the heart of Western Ukraine. 

TechUkraine: When and how had been started the project? Who is running LvivTech.City?

Vitaliy Melnyk, Vice President of Innovation Parks Development at UDP: We started the LvivTech.City project in 2017. It has become one of the three innovation parks in our portfolio. The other two are in Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Why were these cities chosen? Because it has everything necessary for the functioning of the innovation park – influential universities and, as a result, highly qualified youth, availability of capital, and high concentration of business.

These cities also have the largest IT clusters.

In concept, all three projects are similar. It is a full-fledged ecosystem that includes everything necessary for business, study, life, and leisure, where people can fully live, work, study and spend their free time comfortably.

Our team at UDP Innovative Park is engaged in absolutely everything from the construction to the management of the project LvivTech.City (Lviv).

TechUkraine: What is the concept of the LvivTech.City? The key elements and the stages of development.

Oleg Zasadnyi, Head of the LvivTech.City project: From the point of view of development, the innovation park is an area of ​​complex development presenting the “Live-Work-Learn-Relax.” concept. Architectural project based on carefully considered spatial planning and landscaping solutions. Talking about the function of the innovation park, it is essentially a full-fledged ecosystem.

Like our other parks, LvivTech.City is designed for creative clusters, high-tech, and science-intensive industries. It is the primary target audience. Therefore, the ecosystem of innovation parks is intended to be a catalyst for developing these clusters.

LvivTech.City is based on a philosophy that would allow its residents to stay here 24/7 and meet all their living needs. Residents who work here have the opportunity to live in the same location. That is why one of the components of the innovation park is a residential area, which is not offered in a business park or industrial park. Thanks to this, we give people such an invaluable resource as time.

Imagine how comfortable it is when you can live, work, relax, study and meet all your routine needs in one place. In addition, it is a technological space, a kind of catalyst for business, exchange of ideas, and self-development.

All buildings of the innovation park are constructed according to the LEED and BREEAM “green” standards, which implies the efficient usage of resources and eco-friendly materials.

TechUkraine: Which smart city solutions are implemented within the project?

Vitaliy Melnyk: Saving the time of residents, safety, innovation, environmental friendliness, and convenience of processes – are the points to which we pay special attention when creating LvivTech.City.

The Smart City concept is a set of services, tools, and technical solutions designed to improve the lives of residents, increase comfort and safety, quality and efficiency of service in various fields, as well as control and optimize energy costs.

This concept includes security, ecology, automation, management, and communication: a system of access control at various levels, round-the-clock security and video surveillance, a mobile application for managing the infrastructure of the residential complex, environmental solutions (solar panels, street lighting control systems, electric charging, garbage sorting, etc.). And other technological solutions for the comfort and safety of residents.

TechUkraine: Amid the war treats, why could it become a hub for tech entrepreneurs in the west of Ukraine?

Oleg Zasadnyi: Lviv is a well-known center and powerful IT cluster in Ukraine. And now it is also a relatively safe city. Specialists and businesses are currently moving here from the country’s regions where hostilities are taking place.

Lviv is considered both a permanent place of work and temporary relocation. LvivTech.City has everything you need to run a business.

We care about the comfort and safety of residents, so, for example, we turned the underground parking lot into a reliable shelter during the war.

TechUkraine: Who are the founders and partners? Which financial sources are used to build the projects?

Vitaliy Melnyk: UFuture Investment Holding unites various businesses of Ukrainian entrepreneur Vasyl Khmelnytsky. LvivTech.City is a part of the UFuture portfolio. Vasyl Khmelnytsky currently has a local partner in the LvivTech.City project.

In terms of financial resources, LvivTech.City is buiding and developing exclusively at the expense of shareholders without borrowing.

TechUkraine: How did the team reflect on the war? What kind of initiatives and projects were/are running?

Vitaliy Melnyk: Some of the LvivTech.City’s employees have moved to Lviv. The rest are in other Ukrainian cities or even abroad. Coronavirus taught us to work remotely. We are currently working quite harmoniously.

From the first days, the whole team joined in supporting our defenders and helping the displaced.

In particular, based on LvivTech.City, we organized a temporary shelter for internally displaced persons, provided them with everything they needed, and assisted in logistics in the region or abroad.

Also, last week we invited the children who were evacuated from Lugansk to Lviv, orphans, and pupils from the School of art to draw the symbol of Ukrainian braveness, resistance, and victory on our wall.

TechUkraine: What is the next step?

Vitaliy Melnyk: The next step will depend on the situation at the front and how the market changes. We are currently completing construction work and will soon open coworking with international operator IWG Spaces.

Before the war, we planned to start the construction of a housing cluster in LvivTech.City in March. The full-scale invasion, of course, has made adjustments, but it remains in our immediate plans.

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