Riga Port City has a territory for the implementation of socially significant projects, such as the national acoustic concert hall.
Who needs a Concert Hall?
An acoustic concert hall is not a mystical idea generated by some individuals. Both the former Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde and the current Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis have publicly expressed their desire to build a concert hall on the bank of the Daugava river. Need for a concert hall as a cultural building of national significance in Riga is substantiated in several national level policy planning documents. Including the Latvian Sustainability Development Strategy until 2030 with the aim to promote Riga's becoming an important cultural, business and tourism center of the region, the Cultural Policy Guidelines 2014-2020 “Creative Latvia”, Latvian tourism development guidelines for 2014-2020. The need for a concert hall is envisaged in the Riga Sustainable Development Strategy until 2030.
Public officials are responsible for the implementation of these documents, including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Culture and the Riga City Council.
Why does Riga Port City offer to build a concert hall in Andrejosta?
We believe that Latvia and Riga need a concert hall. The place offered by Riga Port City in Andrejosta is suitable for this purpose. In addition, there is no reason to wait aimlessly until the state receives money for this project, when in the case of Riga Port City's offer it is possible to start this project immediately. This is the first reason why we offered a concert hall in Andrejosta. Referring to the interest of Riga Municipality and the Ministry of Culture, whether it would be possible to build such a concert hall in the territory of Riga Port City, the developers of these territories answered in the affirmative.
The state has informed everyone involved and interested that the state does not have money for the concert hall. This is the second reason why Riga Port City offered to build a concert hall in its territory - Riga Port City and its cooperation partners have made a proposal to the Ministry of Culture to finance the construction and related costs for this project in the framework of a partnership.
In each one of our presentations, we have emphasized that the concert hall is a high-quality object with which to promote the development of this particular territory of Riga. There’s nothing to hide and it makes sense to all involved. This is the third reason why Riga Port City offers the construction of a concert hall in its territory. Our position has been widely known to the public since April 2, 2019, and we have commented on it several times in the media.
About gifts and urban planning
The city is gradually implementing a plan to relocate port operations away from the center. It also envisages significant restrictions on the movement of heavy vehicles for the current territory of the Riga Passenger Terminal. Instead, according to the city's development plan, the Daugava embankment should be returned to the public, creating promenades and providing more environmentally friendly modes of transport.
To build a concert hall in this place to the extent that the Ministry of Culture talks about it, a plot of land in Andrejosta can be created by moving Eksporta Street to its historical place, away from the waterfront. Then a large enough plot of land will be available for the concert hall. Irrespective of the intentions of the concert hall, the relocation of Eksporta Street, which is at times mentioned as a sensation, has been in the detailed plans of the city of Riga for ten years. The purpose of the relocation is to free the bank of the Daugava and make it accessible to the residents and guests of Riga. So at some point the street will be moved regardless of the plans of the concert hall. The concert hall is simply a very good reason for this. In addition, the development of the street as an urban environment and the creation of a waterfront approach for residents is an investment, not a cost.
By donating land to the concert hall and building a concert hall on it, the development of the Riga Port City territory will undoubtedly be promoted. And the beneficiaries of a landscaped area of 47 ha in the city center, on the bank of the Daugava, will be everyone. The relocation of the main street would be estimated at € 25 million, including the construction of tram lines. This may not be possible for private investors alone. In addition, the understanding of foreign investors, who will undoubtedly have to be involved in the concert hall project, shows that it is acceptable to donate real estate, but not start fulfilling direct functions of the city and the state by building the city's main communications and infrastructure. If such a rule were imposed on a private partner, the chances of finding funding in Europe would be significantly reduced. Investors would translate this as the state's disinterest in such a project. And the concert hall would remain unbuilt, because the state has repeatedly emphasized that it has no money, unless it is about financing political parties.
Urban development costs millions, not donations. Donations create opportunities for the city to do something outstanding. Riga must develop, and no one should allow themselves to say that the city should not participate in its own development.
Riga Port City is ready to donate the necessary territory for the concert hall. If the state considers that it is not appropriate for it to receive private land donated in good faith, the state can always consider purchasing this land for its own needs.
We believe that the city should make good use of the opportunity to include this unique Daugavmala territory in the center of Riga by loacting objects important to the city, such as the Riga Public Library, there. It should be noted at the outset that the development of these buildings will also have to find funding somewhere.