RIGA - Linstow Center Management has announced plans to build the largest shopping park in the Baltics. Located in the suburb of Babite, near Riga, the mall will cost some 150 million euros.
According to the business daily Dienas Bizness, Linstow, a Norwegian-owned company running several shopping centers in Latvia, has clinched a deal with Saliena Real on the rights to purchase 50 hectares of land to construct the shopping center. LCM said it would make a final decision on whether or not to acquire the land next spring.
"The situation has developed this way, as it is a very large project, and we need to be sure that we will succeed in everything," LCM board chairman Frode Gronwold explained, predicting that the shopping park will be completed in four to eight years.
In the LCM representative's words, the shopping center will boast 15 to 20 hectares of retail space. Although the project is expected to provide an opportunity to attract European retail chains, emphasis will be placed on domestic companies.
Gronwold said the company is currently working on several other projects in the Baltics, especially the Galerija Centrs shopping center in Riga's Old Town and a project in Babite. He added that LCM had several ideas about developing shopping centers, but said it would be premature to elaborate on them.
Linstow owns and manages six shopping centers in Latvia 's Alfa, Mols, Dole, Origo, Centrs and Minska, as well as Ulemiste in Estonia.
Total sales by LCM shopping centers in Riga last year reached 185.7 million lats (284 million euros), up 28 percent from 2004. Ulemiste, a LCM shopping center in Estonia, boosted sales by 75 percent to 46.9 million lats in 2005.
Saliena Real, which owns a 600-hectare land plot in Babite, wants to develop the territory. The company has already begun constructing a new residential area and has finished a new hockey hall. Saliena Real owner is Sweden's Ostermalm Property Investment Fund.