RIGA - The U.S. billionaire Donald Trump, famous for his comb-over hairstyle and fabulously glitzy real estate projects, is interested in the construction of a major concert hall complex on Riga’s Zakusala Island, Russian businessman and chairman of the ‘New Wave’ pop music contest’s organizational committee, Alexander Shenkman, said in an interview with the magazine Otkriti gorod.
Composer Igor Krutoy and businessman Viesturs Koziols had a meeting with Trump in the United States to discuss the project ‘Zakusala,’ which includes a concert hall with capacity seating of 6,000, a hotel and a business center.
“Talks are under way now, but Trump is very interested. If the project is implemented, the ‘New Wave’ contest could move to Riga as the Zakusala complex will make it possible for artists to perform as well as live there. The complex could bring to Riga many world stars who often perform in Scandinavian countries, as well as give great momentum to the development of tourism in Riga by bringing more Russian, German and Scandinavian tourists here,” said Shenkman.
Riga’s Mezaparks area is also considered an alternative to Jurmala. “This option has been weighed for several years already. We could also implement our project in Mezaparks, and on a much larger scale,” stressed Shenkman.
In the interview, Shenkman severely criticizes the current Dzintari Concert Hall in Jurmala and its reconstruction project, which will not solve any of its existing problems. “The architects who designed the project may be talented, but they have no grasp of the main aspects of a concert hall. If Dzintari Concert Hall could operate at least a month longer, that would mean a month longer tourism season in Jurmala. The city could then attract international hotel chains, which are only interested if the tourism season is long enough,” explained Shenkman.
The main task of Jurmala is to extend its tourism season. In order to attract more tourists and keep foreigners, who have bought apartments in Jurmala for the summer, for a longer period, the city also needs to organize high-profile events.
The organizers are facing a difficult task, as the city can’t so easily extend the warm weather season - unless it has new information showing a more rapid global climate change taking place.
Shenkman also tells the magazine that ‘New Wave’ has contributed greatly to the development of the Jurmala real estate market. “Of about 1,000 top-level Russian businessmen who attend the contest, at least one hundred have bought property here,” says Shenkman.