Major complex to bring shoppers back to center city

  • 2009-12-17
  • Staff and wire reports

RIGA - The new shopping mall Galleria Riga is set to open in Riga’s central shopping district next August, reports news agency LETA. Although the shopping mall will open its doors as the Latvian economic crisis is expected to bottom out, the project’s developers are cautiously optimistic and expect to open all six floors of the shopping mall. “Although we are going though tough times now, we plan to open the entire shopping mall, all floors at once,” said Sandis Vetra, spokesman for the developers, the Patollo group.

The mall’s anchor tenant will be supermarket chain operator Rimi. Vetra did not disclose the names of other potential tenants, but admitted that “many companies are showing interest, foreign and local companies alike. Furthermore, rent prices are now relatively ‘friendly’ and we can help the tenants furnish their shops in the mall.” Vetra also said that a number of restaurant and cafe owners have shown interest in renting premises on the upper floors. He points out that success of the project will be determined by its location, availability of parking space, the shopping mall’s concept and the variety of companies that will open there.

“No further contraction in retail trade sales is expected. Furthermore, our mall is located in the tourist area and they are our target customers,” Vetra added. Patollo is owned by Carpathian Asset Management and Titan Invest. The mall will consist of several buildings; some of the existing buildings on the block will be reconstructed to suit the needs of the project, others will be newly built. A two-floor underground parking garage will be constructed beneath the complex. Architect Visvaldis Sarma believes that Riga lacks this type of city center shopping concept. “In Europe, we all know about London’s Oxford Street, which has the highest concentration of shopping galleries. Another example is Kurfurstendamm, in Berlin, and others,” Sarma says, adding that large shopping malls can actually benefit all the businesses around it, the small corner shops and cafes in their vicinity