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Building at 2 Elizabetes Street transferred for short-term use


'In response to an invitation by the "Rīgas laiks" magazine support association and the public benefit organisation "Artsound", the building at 2 Elizabetes Street will be transferred for short-term use by 15 November. On the premises, through the cooperation of representatives of various creative professions - artists, architects, musicians, together with the teaching staff, researchers and students of Riga Technical University, University of Latvia, Art Academy of Latvia, Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music will implement interdisciplinary events in connection with the cultural heritage of the building', informs Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of SJSC (VAS) Valsts nekustamie īpašumi (VNĪ).

The 'Rīgas laiks' magazine support association applied to VNĪ and the Ministry of Finance calling to transfer the building at 2 Elizabetes Street for short-term use in order to implement the social campaign 'Latvian Future Laboratory'. During the project, the organisation of various interdisciplinary measures to creatively develop a positive and sustainable understanding of the building's history and binding issues, its cultural heritage, its future uses, as well as to improve and develop communication skills between different groups of people.

'The building at 2 Elizabetes Street is an important modernist architectural structure, therefore VNĪ supports the initiative of the "Rīgas laiks" magazine support association to organise cultural events. The association has familiarised itself with the technical condition of the building and has committed to taking the mandatory safety precautions during the implementation of the project. This will be a unique opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about the history of the building, while the future development intent is being actively worked on', says Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board at VNĪ.

In 2020, the LLC (SIA) 'Firma L4' carried out a technical survey of the building, which revealed a number of non-conformities due to deterioration. The overall operation of the property is not at risk, but construction of a fire safety system, worth at least €700,000, is required. In 2020, more than a half of the area of the building was unused, so the assessment led to conclusion that it would be more beneficial for the State to vacate the building for three years while the possibilities of future use of the property are considered.

At the end of 2022, the Cabinet of Ministers considered the informative report 'On the Opportunities for Optimisation of Office Premises of Direct State Administration Institutions in Riga', which instructed the Ministry of Finance (including its capital company VNĪ) and the State Chancellery to develop a conceptual report on the opportunities for optimisation of office premises of direct state administration institutions, including a solution for several properties, including the building at 2 Elizabetes Street, by 1 October 2023.

A place-making workshop was organised in early June to bring together an interdisciplinary group consisting of art, design, architecture, urban planning and public administration professionals to effectively develop design principles and proposals for the centralisation of offices public institutions. At the event, four groups of the involved experts presented scenarios for the future development of the buildings, stressing that the building at 2 Elizabetes Street should be preserved for the centralisation of offices of public institutions and its volume should be spared from unnecessary layering or extensions. Whereas, the building at 6 Kronvalda Boulevard has architectural value, and educational function should be returned therein. The public open space of the territory should be integrated into the landscape of Kronvalda Park by removing spatial boundaries and buildings that have lost their function. The experts' recommendations are included in a conceptual report to be considered in October this year.

VNĪ currently successfully works on the implementation of 44 national-scale projects, 24 of which are in the stage of construction. The total implementation budget of the projects exceeds EUR 336 million. VNĪ provides professional real estate management and maintenance for 371 building and structure properties, comprising 1007 buildings with a total area of 0.97 million m2, as well as land beneath structures with a total area of 607 ha, and 3404 land properties with a total area of 883 ha. VNĪ is one of 17 Latvian companies that received the highest platinum award in the Institute for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability's Sustainability Index 2023, demonstrating good governance and the sustainability of its operations. The company was founded in 1996 and the Ministry of Finance is its sole shareholder.