Soviet hotel gets facelift

  • 2000-01-20
  • By Elina Cerpa
Construction work on the Soviet-era Hotel Latvia will start this
summer. Elina Cerpa reports.The multi storey eye-sore "Hotel Latvia"
was opened in 1978 by order of the Soviet tourist ministry in Moscow.
Five hundred Finnish tourists were the first guests.

Today, this building looks more and more like the proverbial sore
thumb in the mostly refurbished downtown Riga but new plans are in
sight. By March a reconstruction plan for the hotel is expected to be
ready by the associated architects Poga, Sarma and Norde.

Construction work should begin in June and be completed and ready
for new guests by May 2001 according to the hotel's chief manager,
Vladimir Blinov. The hotel will have a three-star rating, more guest
rooms, and interior improvements.

Perhaps most important of all and for Riga's inhabitants, the hotel's
exterior image will be changed.

In 1999 a competition was held for the best reconstruction project
design for the "Hotel Latvia." Six companies took part but finally
the SBRE project, a joint venture by two companies Skonto Buve and Re
& Re. was accepted. SBRE is well known for its construction of the
trade center Mols.

The Norwegian finance company Lindstow ASA is a major investor and is
providing most of the working capital. The hotel privatization
regulations required that $25 million or 15 million lats were needed
to obtain a majority interest, said Blinovs.

Lindstow ASA owns such enterprises as Mols, Dole, Centrs, part of the
Central Rail Terminal Riga and the factory Alfa. Fifty percent of the
newly restored high quality Park Hotel Ridzene also belongs to
Lindstow ASA.

Anticipated changes:

The blue aluminium siding will be changed to glassware and stainless
steel panels. The metallic components will be arranged on four
panels, that will give the optical illusion of a decrease in the
building's height.

The isolation materials used with the steel constructions should
prevent high temperatures in the premises over summer This has been a
major problem to date.

Current carcinogenic and asbestos materials will be replaced by
ecologically approved materials.

Two new elevators, the highest in Riga, will lead to a view of Riga
from 80 meters.

The fourth floor will be accessible by invalids and people with allergies.

From the 5th to the 23rd floors inclusive, each floor will have 17
simple double rooms and one luxury suite.

The 24th floor will have large luxury suites with a panorama of Old Riga.

The 26th floorwill feature a restaurant and a panorama bar.

In the hotel's basement there will be a sauna, a pool, a gym and a casino.

The second floor will house a center for seminars, congresses and
conferences and will have the most modern equipment available.

All the engineering systems, including electrical equipment, hot
water and plumbing, will be renewed, and an automated electronic
system will take care of hotel security.