Ambitious plans and work on long-awaited projects – “Estera Development” vision for 2023
The name of the real estate company “Estera Development” has so far been heard most often in the context of the ambitious project “Liepziedi”, which, thanks to the successful cooperation of Estonians and Latvians and affordable prices, has allowed more than 350 families to improve their quality of life and move into energy-efficient and modern housing. “Estera” is here to stay in the Latvian real estate market – this is evidenced by the impressive future plans. Development works worth more than EUR 100 million will be started next year on the “Rīgas Sporta pils” quarter, and construction works have already started on a new apartment complex on the territory of the former textile factory “Tekstiliana” in Torņakalns. Also, in the popular Valdlauči neighborhood, an ambitious project “Mākoņkalns” with a total of 35 apartment buildings is planned to be launched this year.
When asked why Estonian developers have a special affection for Torņakalans and what they have seen in other Riga neighborhoods, why they build in Riga and not, for example, in Vilnius, Ülo Adamson, co-owner of “Estera Development” says that the Latvian market still has huge potential and currently the right time to build properties for the moment when Latvian property prices will be equal to the Estonian and Lithuanian market and the demand will increase rapidly.
“While in Estonia and Lithuania in 2022 we have experienced a kind of property buying boom, meanwhile, people in Latvia are still cautious about credit obligations due to the crisis of 2007, the market is slower, and this is also reflected in real estate prices and construction activity. We are sure that Latvia is moving in the direction of Estonia, where in Tallinn good economy class new apartments cost more than 3,500 EUR per square meter and business class (middle market) apartment prices exceed 5,000 EUR per square meter. We believe that prices in Riga will reach this level within the next 5-6 years, even if there is a slowdown in the economy in 2023. Realizing that prices will only increase and not decrease under the influence of various factors, those who buy properties at current prices will be big winners in the future. For example, such an apartment, which in our Torņakalns project “Tekstiliana” now costs from 2,500 EUR per square meter, would currently be available for 5,000 EUR per square meter on the Estonian market. Unfortunately, prices for buyers cannot fall, while for builders they only remain higher.”
The plans of “Estera” are also reflected in the investment volumes. From 2016 to 2021, 430 apartments were successfully built and sold in Riga and its vicinity for a total sales value of more than EUR 30 million, while the total investment for expansion of operations in Riga and its vicinity in 2022 was EUR 14.5 million, thus making the company a one of the leading developers in the domestic industry, who see potential in the eyes of the locals in relatively unpopular neighborhoods.
“Tekstiliana” as the new oasis of Torņakalns district
Although Torņakalns has never been associated with the Riga area, where a diverse range of housing is concentrated, this could change in the near future, as Ester’s most active work is currently taking place on the “Tekstiliana” project, which will be a grand novelty for the industrial area. The development of Tekstiliana was started in the fall of 2022 and the construction process is currently actively underway, with the completion and commissioning of the first phase of the project expected at the end of 2023. It is planned to develop a total of 150 new middle market apartments in two stages. In the future, the future buildings will form a complex of apartment houses that meet modern requirements and are comfortable for living, with an orderly environment in the courtyard area and a feeling of a united community. A total of 64 (1 – 5 room) apartments will be available in the first 5-story building with A+ class energy efficiency. The project will have a wide variety of apartment layouts, with panoramic windows, terraces for ground floor apartments, balconies, and roof gardens for penthouse apartments (5.7 m2 – 60 m2).
“Tekstiliana” houses are characterized by well-thought-out planning, the possibility of functionally and ergonomically placing furniture, high-quality and sustainable finishing materials, and high-quality plumbing. Also, special attention is paid to stairwells – they are designed and lockable. For the convenience of residents, an intercom is installed for each apartment and elevators are available, as well as the possibility to purchase parking spaces and storage spaces in the basement of the house. In the underground floor, there is an opportunity to install a private vehicle charging point, as well as above ground and underground bicycle storage facilities will be provided for the use of residents.
Estera sales manager Inga Ārgale says: “Interest in “Tekstiliana” is stable – people are still looking for a new home, comparing market offers, evaluating options. There is interest in all types of apartments, one premium penthouse apartment has also been sold. I can agree that at the moment there are buyers who are waiting to make a final decision, but not because they are waiting for a price reduction. Rather, people want to understand what the rising cost of living will do to family finances this winter and beyond. At the same time, several bookings have come from people who do not want to lose their money/savings to inflation and are guided by the principle that one of the safest ways to invest is in real estate. Another clearly visible trend is that customers strive for efficient planning and high energy efficiency housing. If the market activity decreases or slows down, it does not mean that nothing is happening, rather, the profiles of the buyers that the seller meets more often are changing – today’s customers are people who know the market, want to invest safely, or no longer want to overpay for living in an energy-efficient home. “
In general, Torņakalns is ahead of the general development, because it is already visible that the “snowball effect” is happening – inspired by “Tekstiliana”, other developers have also started activity in the neighborhood, which means that the buildings of the Tekstiliana project will not be the only new and modern buildings in the neighborhood. Observing these changes, it can be predicted that this neighborhood has all the possibilities to become a place where the development of the center of Riga is directed in the future. For example, Torņakalns can be proud of the Academic Center of the University of Latvia, which is one of the most modern education and science centers in Europe with the House of Nature and Science, as well as the realization of other projects related to education and science. The National Library of Latvia and the Museum of Latvian Railway History also offer a wide range of offers, thus moving a large part of the events of Riga’s cultural life to the left bank of the Daugava. Construction of bridges for pedestrians and cyclists is planned both across the Daugava and in the vicinity of Pārdaugava district, connecting the historic city center with Torņakalns. Along with the realization of the Rail Baltica project, the creation of a city and intercity public transport transfer center – the Torņakalns multimodal transport hub – is planned in the vicinity of the Torņakalna station. The international airport of Riga, the resort town of Jūrmala and fast developing Riga suburb are also nearby. On the other hand, park beautification projects are aimed at attracting supporters of outdoor active recreation and entertainment (Arkadijas and Uzvaras Parks, Lucavsala). Also, the heart of the neighborhood is the market, which gathers a significant flow of people (development of Āgenskalns and Kalnciems markets).
“Estera” current projects are “Tekstiliana” in Torņakalns, “Mākoņkalns” in Valdlauči, “Rīgas Sporta Pils” in the Riga Center, “Dienvidu pakavs” in Pārdaugava, the project “Hipokrāta iela” in Mežciems and the residential project in Salaspils. Within the framework of “Sporta Pils”, it is planned to develop the entire territory of the former hockey arena between Tērbatas Street and Krišjāņa Barona Street, with a total of 800 new apartments of the middle market segment being injected into the market. The project is planned to be developed in six stages, starting from 2024, with total investments reaching more than EUR 100 million. The development of “Mākoņkalns” envisages the construction of 1,000 new economy-class apartments, which will be developed in several stages, the start of construction is planned for 2023. “Dienvidu Pakavs 3” will have 230 new economy class apartments, which will be developed in two phases. On the other hand, 170 new economy class apartments are expected in Mežciem, and 650 in Salaspils.