SoftServe purchases prison for ₴377M to turn into creative campus

On July 16, 2021, the SoftServe IT company announced the purchase of the inactive Lviv penal colony No. 48. It has been purchased for ₴377.5 million during an open online auction organized by the Ministry of Justice. In the interview for, SoftServe’s co-founder Oleh Denys explained why the company needs such an asset and what it will do with it. Here are the main points of this interview:

Why did SoftServe buy a former penal colony?

  • The owners always wanted to create a creative campus in Lviv. They checked various locations where they could unite most of the company offices. Now there are 12 offices in different places within Lviv.
  • Compared to the former prison, the other options were either smaller, worse located, or divided between different owners. That is why we chose penal colony No. 48.
  • According to Oleh Denys, both space and location, destination and communication were exactly as we desired. This location is also close to the Lviv Business School of UCU, the Lviv airport, a shopping mall, markets, the exit of the city, etc. The company couldn’t find a better alternative, Oleh Denys said.
Oleh Denys (left) at a press conference on the privatization of the colony, here and below photos by SoftServe

How will the creative campus look like?

  • The SoftServe co-founder also said, “there were many jokes that we buy a jail, mostly positive ones.” Looking at social media, someone truly believed that SoftServe would rebuild the prison into its new offices. What we do plan is to create here a completely new and modern space, said Denys.
  • All rooms of the buildings and the location itself will be renovated. Everybody will be able to access them, not only the employees of the company. “There will be no borders and spikes anymore — it will be an open space for all,” he said.
  • The campus will include offices, conference halls, exhibition halls, and a science museum. Now SoftServe is preparing to hold a tender to determine the company that will create the concept of the campus. It is expected that it will be ready by December 2021. Then it will hold an architectural competition, detail the concept, and select contractors.
  • On the campus, there likely will be living rooms too. SoftServe wants to create an environment where visitors will be able to combine work, life, and rest to make its employees feel sure about schools and kindergartens for their children and avoid the feeling they’re living at work.
  • If there will be living quarters on campus, they will probably be available not only for purchase but also for long-term rentals.
  • The final design of the campus is still awaiting confirmation. “Our first idea was to establish a museum of science. I do not know if it is going to be a museum of science or technology. Probably a museum, or maybe a funicular between the offices. We should discuss it with citizens and get more ideas. We would like to make this space attractive and creative-driving. Lviv really needs this at the moment,” said the co-owner.