The historic Customs House has been put into operation - one of the first administrative buildings built in Riga in the 19th century, on the bank of the Daugava - Krišjāņa Valdemāra 1a. The house, where the Internal Security Bureau is located, under the management of SJSC State Real Estate (SRE), has acquired a renewed external appearance and roof covering, preserving the authenticity of the cultural and historical building, informs Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of SRE.
“SRE purposefully carries out the renovation of historic houses in Riga. The luxurious neo-gothic style house built in the 19th century in Valdemāra iela has regained its former splendour, the signs of wear have been eliminated, and the overall panorama view of the right bank of the Daugava has been improved. With the renovation of this house, another house in Riga has been improved, reducing the number of degraded buildings managed by SRE. In order to preserve the cultural and historical heritage, during the renovation of the building, we consulted with the National Heritage Board and performed architectural and artistic research,” R. Griškevičs points out.
In addition to the renovation of the facade and the replacement of the flat roof, new wooden windows were installed in accordance with the historical appearance, several windows were restored, window apertures were repaired and renovated, as well as new cast iron consoles were made. At the same time, a large chimney at the height of the entire building was demolished, which was not used and did not fit with the overall view of the historic building. Investments in the renovation of the house have been made in the amount of almost 900 thousand euros. The works were carried out by SIA “Būvdarbu sistēmas”. Investments in the renovation of the building are financed from the resources of SRE, recovering the investments in the form of long-term rent.
“We are pleased that, thanks to the renovation of the facade of the Internal Security Bureau carried out by SRE, the historic neo-Gothic house built in the 19th century has been reborn, regaining its former splendour, while at the same time reflecting the order and importance of the Internal Security Bureau. The administrative building designed by architect Nikolajs Trusovs - Customs House - is undoubtedly of cultural and historical value in the historic centre of Riga, which is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, therefore we are convinced that the renewed aesthetic form will be appreciated daily by Internal Security Bureau employees and visitors alike, and also by guests of the city,” says Normunds Šteinbriks, Deputy Head of the Internal Security Bureau.
Neo-Gothic style two-storey brick building with an emphasis on the construction of a three-storey central avant-corps with a tower was built in 1875-1887 according to the design of architect Nikolajs Trusovs as an administrative building - Customs House. It is a culturally and historically valuable building located in the territory of the “Historical Centre of Riga City”. The house was built immediately after the demolition of the Citadele fortifications with the construction of the Daugava embankment.
In 1958 a project was developed to adapt the building to the needs of the Foreign Sailor's Club, which operated there until the end of the 1980s. During the reconstruction of the premises, a concert hall, dance, cinema premises, a restaurant and a billiard hall were planned. In 1981, during the construction of Vanšu Bridge, the gate to Valdemāra iela was demolished, because the structure of the bridge was placed very close to the side facade of the building.
In general, the building has retained its original size with an expressive composition of facades and luxurious shaped facade finishes. Located next to Vanšu Bridge and the Presidential Palace, the building is easy to see in the panorama of the right bank of the Daugava. The building is currently leased to the Provision State Agency and is used by the Internal Security Bureau, an institution that has the task to detect, prevent and investigate criminal offences committed by officials and employees of subordinate institutions of the Ministry of the Interior, thus increasing public confidence in the public administration.
Last year, 17 nationally significant development projects with a total budget of 29.5 million euros were completed in the conditions of the pandemic under the leadership of SRE, including 9 renovated facades and/or roofs of cultural and historical buildings. The most famous of the objects renovated last year are the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, the Pharmacy Museum, the favourite exhibition hall “Arsenals”, as well as administrative buildings - the building of the Ministry of Economics at Brīvības iela 55 and the Ombudsman's Office at Baznīcas iela 25, Riga.
Currently, in the conditions of a pandemic, in accordance with the precautionary and safety requirements, work is being carried out under the leadership of SRE on 43 different construction sites of national importance, including the renovation of the facade of the historic “Sakta” house at Brīvības bulvāris 32, Rīga. Construction works will soon start at the Latvian Puppet Theatre, Valmiera Drama Theatre, the future home of the Literature and Music Museum at Mārstaļu iela 6, Riga and other cultural and historical buildings.
Currently, SRE invests 77.3 million euros in the development of cultural monuments at 20 addresses. At the same time, the implementation of projects in the amount of 75.7 million euros was prepared at 13 addresses. At the end of 2022, the New Riga Theatre will return to the historical residence at Lāčplēša iela 25, Riga, design works are underway for the renovation of the visitors' favourite concert hall - the home of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra - Grand Guild and the reconstruction of Ventspils historic Gūtšmitu nams at Kuldīgas iela 2, where a joint client service centre for 5 state and local government institutions will be located.
SRE provides professional real estate management and administration for approximately 400 real estate properties with 1100 buildings of 1.02 million square metres and more than 3600 land properties with an area of 9.6 million square metres. SRE was founded in 1996 and its sole (100%) shareholder is the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia.