VILNIUS - Construction on the new 20,000-square-meter basketball arena is continuing, with the Kaunas-based construction company Kausta, which completed laying the foundation in September, contracted to carry out concrete work.
Investments in this universal arena - to be called Ozo Arena - will amount to 65 million litas (18 million euros) without infrastructure costs.
The value of the concrete contract is more than 6 million litas.
The arena, which will be multi-purpose, is to be finished by October 2004, in time for Lithuania to win the rights to hold the 2007 European men's basketball championship.
The arena will have 10,077 seats for basketball matches, 10,920 seats for concerts, 8,785 seats for ice hockey matches and 3,382 seats for theatre performances. There will be a 1,000-slot car park next to the arena.
About 500,000 people are expected to visit the arena in the first year, with annual attendance of 400,000 expected afterward.
The initiator of the project is the Vilnius City Council.
For Kausta, the arena contracts are a major boost to its ambitious expansion plans.
Last year the Kaunas-based company took the lead on the local construction market, with sales rising 27 percent year-on-year to total 139 million litas.
Operated by Finland's YIT Construction, Kausta said earlier it was planning to invest 20 million litas in housing construction in the coming three years.
Last year, Kausta made a pre-tax profit of 2 million litas, according to a report submitted to the Securities Commission.