Varner wins desirable site

  • 2001-03-29
  • BNS
RIGA - The Norwegian company Varner and Partners was announced as the winner of a tender on construction rights to a land plot on Riga's Kipsala island on March 16. The exclusive lot, off Vansu bridge on the left bank of the Daugava River, was originally allocated for Hansabanka to build its headquarters, but after a wave of complaints the Riga City Council announced a tender.

Varner and Partners plan to construct an office building in cooperation with Britain's SA Agency.

Viesturs Koziols, Varner and Partners' director, said that about 20 million lats ($31.7 million) are to be invested in the project. The project is expected to be carried out in 20 months.

Koziols said that the main investor in the project will be the British company.

"This will be their first large project in Latvia, which is why they asked us to be cooperative partners," said Varner's director. He added that currently there is no plan to sell the building on Kipsala once it is built.

"But if a good offer is made - why not?" said Koziols.

Well-known construction companies including Kalnozols Celtnieciba, ELL REal Estate, and Latio-NCC also took part in the tender.

The results of the tender are still to be confirmed by the City Council's development committee and Riga City Council.

Hansabanka, however, is still regarded as one of the most desirable tenants in the proposed office building and might become a tenant if the rent provisions are acceptable, a bank representative said.

"If an agreement can be reached with areal estate firm that in the end will implement the project on the building's business development and rentals, Hansabanka will consider the possibility of hiring premises there in the future," said Hansabanka Board Chairwoman Ingrida Bluma.

Riga City Council's development committee last September supported renting out the Kipsala lot to Hansabanka for the construction of an office building. But several City Council deputies objected to it, leading to the tender.

There was discussion last fall that Hansabanka's corporate headquarters (Hansapank), currently in Tallinn, might be moved to Riga. There has been no further public discussion of the move since.