Riga a unique opportunity to reshape a European city centre

Like many attendees from central and eastern Europe, Fredis Bikovs, director of the Riga Investment and Tourism Agency, sounded a more optimistic note at MIPIM 2023 than the previous year, when the war in Ukraine had only just begun and the region was rattled by the shock of it.

“Last year’s MIPIM was very different because of the outbreak of the Ukraine war. That’s all we were focused on and we were in a state of shock.

“This year is different. We have progressed far, not least thanks to Ukrainian people fighting strong against Russian aggression,” he said.

“So we are seeing investor confidence is coming back strong to the region.”

Within the Baltics, Latvia’s capital is playing a pre-eminent role and presenting big opportunities for real estate investors relative to the size of the city.

“If you look at the Baltic region right now, Riga is the place to be because it’s the developed market in the Baltics states. If you look at the commercial, residential or industrial real estate segments, there is a huge demand for all three. And there is less built right now compared to our neighbouring countries in those areas,” Bikovs said.

Among the projects presented at MIPIM was a completely new neighbourhood that requires around €1.5 billion in investment, unique for Europe because it involves large plots of land in the city centre which is available for investors.

“It’s a unique opportunity to reshape a city centre in Europe,” Bikovs said. “[There is also] Riga Central Market, which is the largest market in Europe and has four hangars and a lot of land and buildings for residential and commercial space. It’s a neighbourhood in its own right and it will be connected to a new railway station and line called RailBaltica, which is one of the main projects for the Baltics and will connect Talin, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw and the rest of Europe,” he added.

“Lastly, we are developing what we are calling a knowledge-mile, where we’ve concentrated all the universities in one place in Riga, and that place is now booming with the thousands of students there. So there are lots of resi and commercial opportunities.”

Please click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.