State chooses public-private partnership for Rīga concert hall

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The planned Rīga concert hall will be built under a public-private partnership, the government decided on Tuesday. According to the plan, the state will attract an investor to build a complex with a conference center and a concert hall, with the state either renting or gradually buying back the concert hall, reported Latvian Radio Tuesday.

As EU funds would be used for the project, it would have to be carried out in a developing area.

Currently developers from Skanste and Zaķusala neighborhoods have expressed the greatest interest in the project, while a competition will be announced for attracting a private partner. 

Previously suggested scenarios for building the Rīga concert hall on the AB dam, or reconstructing the Congress Hall, are not being considered anymore as these would require immediate investment, said PM Māris Kučinskis.

"Those are investments of more than €100m, and such a scenario is not under consideration anymore. What we decided upon today was making our ambitions greater - not opting for a modest project [..] but rather making a larger [project] together with the concert hall, using the public-private partnership principle," he said.

"The time is ripe for private investors to start looking at what the offers are," said Kučinskis.

The Culture Ministry plan for the concert hall would have to have at least 1,400 seats and host 60 to 100 concerts. It would also have to have rehearsal and work rooms for the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra.

Latvia's regions have in recent years opened several acclaimed new concert venues in Liepaja, Rezekne and Cesis, which has caused Rigans - used to a near-monopoly on cultural events - to consider whether they might need a new venue of their own.

Early-stage discussions estimated that the new concert hall would be erected by 2030. 

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