Lithuanian investment management company Capitalica Asset Management starts construction of two A-class business centres VERDE in the Skanste area of Riga. Over 60 million EUR will be invested in the area that is already considered a new business district of the capital of Latvia. The designer of the business centres is a famous Latvian architect Andris Kronbergs. The construction work is to be launched in Autumn this year, and the centres should be opened in 2021.
“The market of business offices has excellent potential in Riga. The demand for high-end business centres is continually growing. In light of this trend, we decided to invest and develop a complex of exclusive business centres. Thanks to the environmental and user-friendliness, innovative engineering solutions and technologies, we believe that VERDE will set a new standard in the emerging Skanste area and the entire capital of Latvia”, says Andrius Barštys, CEO of Capitalica Asset Management.
The total area of the A-class business centres VERDE, together with the underground garage, will amount to 45 thous. square meters, making it one of the most significant business office buildings in the capital of Latvia. The construction permit was obtained on June 14, and the tender for construction contractors is scheduled for late summer.
Capitalica Asset Management is owned by one of the largest Lithuanian companies – SBA, which operates in the real estate, furniture manufacturing and textile sectors.
VERDE: focus on sustainability, green concept and functionality
Architect Kronbergs willingly accepted the challenge of designing the VERDE project. According to the architect, the new business centres will offer several unique features that can make them one of the most prominent designs in the capital of Latvia.
“The building is designed on a 1.3-hectare land plot at the intersection between the UNESCO-protected central Riga famous for its Art Nouveau-style and the new city. The land plot is located between these two parts of the city, and the heritage protection requirements for new construction, especially for the height and density, are extremely stringent. From an architectural point of view, this was a huge challenge, resulting in a unique concept and solutions focused on sustainability,” says Mr Kronbergs.
In addition to its convenient and prestigious location, the new business centre will distinguish for its special attention to green concepts, philosophy of harmony between work and leisure. This is encoded in the very name of the project – VERDE.
“The roof of the lobby will feel like a garden on a green hill, where trees, shrubs and flowers will be planted, and cafes will be open during the warm season of the year. All this will become a viable green space, similar to a park. There will be plenty of green spaces, as the roof garden will be installed over floor 5 of the building,” explains the Latvian architect.
At the design stage, the buildings were developed according to the criteria of the BREEAM Excellent standard. It means that they are comprehensibly sustainable, environmental and user-friendly, and energy-efficient. In line with the BREEAM system, a particular focus is on factors that ensure the health and well-being of office employees, such as lighting, ventilation, heating, and the use of green energy.
“This business centre will stand out. The whole VERDE philosophy is based on the principles of balance and coherence. For a modern individual, who does not want to divide his life into pre-work and after-work, it is important that he can use every moment to his convenience. Therefore, the dwellers of this business centre will not have to postpone their lives – they will be able to do sports and relax, have lunch or dinner with their family or friends,” says Andrius Barštys, CEO of Capitalica Asset Management.
He also emphasises the flexibility of the future business centre: Businesses choosing VERDE will be able to modify the interior spaces of offices and customise them to their individual needs.
Investment by pension funds
VERDE will be owned by the real estate fund Capitalica Baltic Real Estate Fund I administered by Capitalica Asset Management. In addition to the SBA Group, Latvian and Lithuanian pension funds, managed by the company INVL Asset Management and other professional investors, have invested in the fund.
Investors will be able to obtain a share of the budgeted 60 million EUR through the bond issue of the real estate fund (an investment company), which will enable retail investors to receive returns from the business centre projects. Capitalica, being a member of the SBA Group, intends to attract up to 5 million EUR in bonds and invest it in the business centres in Riga. During the first stage of the distribution, the bonds in value amounting to 3 million EUR has already been subscribed and bought by more than 70 different investors.
In addition to the project developed in Riga, Capitalica Baltic Real Estate Fund I also manage the business centre ‘135’ in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, the business centre ‘Kaunas Dock’ near the Neris River in Kaunas, the second largest city of Lithuania, and the shopping mall ‘Luise’ located in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipėda.
Capitalica Asset Management, the administrator of Capitalica Baltic Real Estate Fund I, is active in the commercial real estate management in the Baltic States. The investment management company was established in 2016. The portfolio of Capitalica Asset Management (80 per cent) is owned by one of the largest Lithuanian capital business groups SBA; another 20 per cent of shares are owned by Mr Barštys’s enterprise Fox Holdings.
In addition to Capitalica Asset Management, the SBA Group owns the real estate innovations company Urban Inventors that develops the business hall Green Hall in Vilnius, the Business Leaders Centre (BLC) in Kaunas, as well as the associate business centre BLC2, which is still under construction. The SBA Group also manages the most critical furniture manufacturing group in the Baltic States, consisting of manufacturers SBA baldų kompanija, Klaipėdos baldai, Šilutės baldai, Germanika, Visagino linija, Mebelain, and Kauno baldai. SBA also owns Utenos trikotažas, the largest textile group in Central and Eastern Europe, together with companies Šatrija and Mrija.
The consolidated sales revenue of SBA amounted to 313.1 million EUR in 2017. The Group employs more than 5000 people; its products are exported to more than 50 countries.