Officials promise Skanste neighbourhood's development will continue
In spite of the liquidation of ABLV Bank, Skanste development association will continue its work to make it Riga’s central business district, says the chairman of the association Mārtiņš Vanags.
«Our vision for Skanste as Riga’s face on a business card has not changed. We will continue our work to make the neighbourhood the capital’s central business district and a platform for Europe-level events. Most importantly – we hope to improve the quality of life for the many thousands of residents and guests to our country’s capital,» comments Vanags.
He notes that Skanste’s direction is dictated by the territorial planning, as part of which experts look at a unified, targeted and modern city environment.
«In regards to the lack of clarity about the future of New Hanza quarter in Skanste, I would like to emphasize that development plans are not put on hold – we continue development. New Hanza is an important development project. Still it covers only 11% of the total area. There are more than ten developers working in Skanste. The interest for investment opportunities only continues to increase. EUR 245 million have already been invested in this project so far, and developers have no plans to stop. Riga City Council City Development Department has strong views in regards to development of the neighbourhood – Skanste is defined as priority territory in the development strategy until 2030,» says Vanags.
He also mentioned that Skanste has a lot of potential. «There is a convenient environment here, appropriate for work, life and leisure. More than 12,000 residents living in Skanste already know this. The surrounding area continues developing. We are in the process of realizing several important projects,» Vanags explains.
He also explains construction of a high-class office complex will commence this summer. Once it is complete, this complex will include five office buildings. Aside from hat, it is also planned to build several streets, form an engineering communications system, a canal and a park.
By the end of 2019, it is planned to open a medicine centre and build an apartment building quarter for 4,000 residents, as well as a football education centre. Vanags explains that Skanste’s development is dictated by the fact that Riga is behind Vilnius and Tallinn. For example, a total of 316,000 m2 of new office building space was built in Tallinn over the course from 2009 to 2017. In Vilnius this area is 338,000 m2 and in Riga it was 158,000 m2. There is a great deal of potential for Skanste in this niche, Vanags said. Riga is also behind its neighbours in terms of construction of new homes – Lithuania completed construction of 5,600 new homes, Estonia completed 4,100, and Latvia completed only 1,000 in 2017.
He also mentioned that Skanste has several strategic objects – Arēna Rīga, Elektrum Olympic Sports Centre, and the possibility of establishing an international conference centre.
BNN had reported that ABLV Bank has halted all contracts handled by its subsidiary Pillar Group with subcontractors involved in the construction of New Hanza quarter.