Offshore business wants to gentrify Vilnius neighborhood

A "regeneration" process will radically change one of the few affordable neighbourhoods in central Vilnius.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Lithuania
Offshore business wants to gentrify Vilnius neighborhood - NewsMavens
Vilnius, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The area around the bus and train stations in Vilnius used to be considered dodgy. However, the demand for places to live around the center has fueled the movement of middle-class people into the area, and before anyone noticed, it was full of trendy bars, hip eateries and "clean" public spaces. Even its street art was commodified and re-packaged for consumption.

In August, the municipality announced a major "regeneration" project, which will see the emergence of new cycling lanes, amusement parks and business centers. In the central market, where people living in the area used to shop for groceries, a losing battle is being waged by those who still look for cheap sausages rather than oyster sauce and overpriced bagels.

For people of limited means, fewer and fewer shops cater to their needs, and they will soon find themselves priced out.

It is in this context that the news about substantial investment should be read. "It is essential for us that the whole sorroundings are cleaned up, and inhabitants changed somewhat," a representative of the PPI Group told the media. Thus, developers are making it clear that they want the old inhabitants out, while, as ownership data in the article shows, the company most probably won't even pay profit taxes in Lithuania -- if it pays them at all.

Details from the story:

  • PPI Group is owned by Stichting North Europe Equity Fund Management, incorporated in the Netherlands. The latter is run by Ackaro LTD in Cyprus. This looks like classical offshore architecture.
  • PPI Group's earlier developments in Vilnius are Naujamiesčio alėja in another rapidly gentrified neighbourhood, as well as Amber City and Amber Haus.
  • The plot on Sodų street was acquired in August. Construction will start next year and be completed by 2021.
  • The owners plan that apartments on the top floors will be pricey as they offer views of the Old Town, whereas the lower floors will offer "economy class" accommodation.

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