10m euros needed for historic Riga market

Approximately 10 million euros is needed for reconstruction of Āgenskalns Market in Riga, Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs told reporters November 27

The amount is an estimate based on investments in similar reconstruction projects in the past, said Usakovs.

He admitted that the Riga City Council currently did not know where to obtain the funds for reconstruction of Agenskalns Market, as the municipality was not planning to use Riga budget funds alone. The main sources of financing could either European Union structural funds or private investments, said Usakovs.

For instance, if EU structural funds are involved, Agenskalns Market would be developed into a cultural and historic site. On the other hand, if private investors participate in the project, the market will become a place for various cultural events, similar to Kalnciema Quarter.

While many people know about Riga's huge Central Market, the city also has several smaller local market sites with the one on the opposite side of the river in the Āgenskalns district in an historic brick building perhaps the most famous. Its total area is 8,300 square meters. Agenskalns Market, designed by Riga Chief Architect Reinhold Schmaeling, opened in 1925.

As well as being a place to buy and sell, it is woven into the local folklore of the bohemian "left bank" of Riga.

In 2015, Riga City Council rented Agenskalns Market to the Rigas Centraltirgus (Riga Central Market, RCT) company. According to the agreement, RCT had to maintain the market so it would not fall into disrepair. However, RCT was unable to honor its obligations and make the necessary investments into maintenance of Agenskalns Market, hence the agreement was terminated. The market will be closed so the technical condition of the building does not deteriorate further.

Agenskalns Market will remain closed until the Riga City Council secures financing for market reconstruction from either EU funds or private investors, explained Usakovs.

Vendors who currently sell their products at Agenskalns Market will be offered opportunity to move to the Riga Central Market, added Usakovs.

Locals have reacted to the imminent closure with dismay, quickly forming a ''Save Agenskalns Market" group.

The Riga City Council earlier said that Agenskalns Market would be closed for reconstruction at the beginning of 2018.

 

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