Memorial and apartment building might share Zolitude tragedy site

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Riga City Council and Estonian company SIA Prana property intend to terminate joint property rights for the real estate property located in Zolitude, Priedaines Street 20, where Maxima supermarket had collapsed in November 2013, as decided by Riga City Council City Property Committee on Monday, 1 July.

Following the committee’s decisions, both sides will be responsible to their own portion of property. This means it will no longer be necessary to coordinate building plans. The property located on Priedaines Street 20 consists of a piece of land with a total area of 10 065 m2 and an unfinished apartment building. Riga municipality will own 5 782 m2 and a portion of the underground parking lot, whereas Prana property will own 4 494 m2 of land with the apartment building and underground parking lot.

Once all property has been divided, Prana property is committed to fencing off the surface portion of real estate free of buildings and landscaping the area. The city council, on the other hand, will demolish a portion of the underground parking lot to establish a full memorial site for the victims of the tragedy.

As the head of the committee Olegs Burovs mentioned during the meeting, for a long time both sides have been trying to agree on establishment of the territory. Prana property wants to develop the apartment building, open up the first floor for business, as well as establish a park and memorial. The city council, on the other hand, wants to establish a memorial with no businesses in the immediate vicinity and with a minimal residential area.

«We offered to purchase the property, but only the land portion of it – they refused. We offered to exchange properties but we failed to reach an agreement on that, too. This is the only legally possible solution left,» said Burovs, adding that the municipal administration would likely lose in litigation.
Estonian partners were prepared to sell the building for EUR 3.5 million. However, the politician said that buying a building that would be demolished the next day would have been wasteful.

The city council and the company reached an agreement in the end, however. No commercial activities will be allowed on the first two floors of the building and parking will be allowed. Apartment areas will be established on the rest of the floors.

According to Burovs, Zolitude 21.11 association found the terms agreeable.

It is planned for the design tender for the memorial to be announced next year.

The final decision regarding termination of joint property rights will be made by Riga City Council.

On 21 November 2013, 54 people were killed and several dozen received injuries when the roof of a Maxima supermarket collapsed.

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