A startup hub, tourist attraction or hotel could appear in the territory of the Lukiskes prison in central Vilnius, which was closed in early July.
Such ideas were voiced during a discussion involving politicians, businessmen and public figures on Tuesday. Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevicius called for the use of the opened-up space as quick as possible, saying that it should be open to all people. The six-building complex covers an area of two hectares and is close to state institutions, including the Supreme Court, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Seimas.
Economy and Innovation Minister Virginijus Sinkevicius says the space could become a popular tourist attraction, and it could also be used for a startup workshop or even a five-star hotel.
“A five-star hotel would not even be unique as Turkey, Finland and several other countries have five-start hotels in former prisons,” he said. In his opinion, the buildings should be changed as little as possible as that “would help to discover another Vilnius”. “I think it could even house the largest escape room in the world,” the minister joked.
Excursions are now being organized after the prison was closed. Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius said the first thing would be to seek the demolition of the prison’s fence which is not protected as cultural heritage. He also spoke about ideas to open a hotel here or make a cultural or economic space, adding that the local municipality could take over the complex.
The last inmates were moved out of the Lukiskes prison in late June. All in all, almost 600 people were moved to other correctional facilities since early January.