A delegation from the Finnish Embassy and Finnish Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce visited Kaunas: some companies can wait for better times
Sustainable Urban Development and construction company "YIT Lietuva", which is developing two business centers on Žalgiris and Linkmenų streets, has signed a lease agreement for one of them. Vilnius division of the US programming services company "Devbridge", which has rented over 5000 sq. m. of the commercial premises, became the first tenant of the "Naujasis Skansenas Ž" project.
The business centre "Naujasis Skansenas Ž", located at Žalgirio str. 112, started in February of 2020 and will open its doors by the end of 2021. The total area of the business centre will reach over 7 thousand sq. m., and a second building of the business centre is planned just next to it. This project is a part of the urban project "Naujasis Skansenas” developed in Šnipiškės district in Vilnius. The 3.41 ha multi-purpose block is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2025.
A + energy efficiency business centres are built in accordance with the requirements of the BREEAM sustainable buildings certificate, ensuring environmental and energy conservation and a high level of comfort for people working in the building. The most recent analysis of assessment data shows that the CO2 emissions in buildings awarded with a BREEAM certification are 22% lower on average, energy and water consumption is reduced by up to 45% and running costs - 9%. It is estimated that a more comfortable and healthier environment should increase the productivity of the employees of the business centre by about 7-15%.
According to Kęstutis Vanagas, general manager of "YIT Lietuva", storage facilities for bicycles and scooters and underground car parks, with some of the parking spaces reserved for electric cars with charging capability, are planned in the two 5-storey business centres. A terrace of 1000 sq. m. is planned on the roof, as well as two additional terraces-yards inside the project itself. The business centre should have around 750 employees. The business centres that will rise in the territory were designed by architect Algimantas Plučas of "Vilniaus architektūros studija".
"The office building of Žalgiris street rises near high-intensity streets, so the company brands that will settle here will be well visible. In addition, the highly qualified workers who will settle here, will be able to easily access the office by car and public transport via the main arteries of the city. The business centre was created according to the idea of the horizontal skyscraper. The commercial zone at the bottom of the building and the three storeys of offices located at the top are separated horizontally", - K. Vanagas speaks about peculiarities of the project.
Viktoras Gurgždys, the vice president of "Devbridge" and Head of the Lithuanian Division, who signed the contract for the lease of more than two thirds of the building, states that the company is growing on average by about 30% per year and in the next five years, it is planned to hire 200-300 new employees just in Vilnius alone.
"We were looking for a space for development, and at the same time we wanted to create a cosy, comfortable, innovative space where it would be nice to work. We concluded the contract based on the size of the premises, their acoustics, even more modern ventilation, the possibility to have a large private roof terrace for both company events and leisure. During the decade of operation, we moved repeatedly until we clearly understood our needs. We want it to be the best and the most modern office for our employees, " says V. Gurgždys.
Went hand in hand with market trends
When asked why the company made the deal at a time when work from home is becoming increasingly popular due to the pandemic and the declining demand for large office spaces , V. Gurgždys says that the company's priority is the convenience for employees. According to the interviewer, they will continue to need both live communication and a suitable space.
"While remote working is becoming more relevant for business, it is important for teams to be together and to improve. Therefore, these processes require an ergonomic space in which everyone not only feels comfortable but can also work freely in the future. We are not looking at the short term. On the contrary, we believe that employees will return to offices after missing live communication and working in teams", - observes V. Gurgždys.
In turn, Martynas Babilas, a partner of "Newsec", the international real estate consulting company involved in the signing of the lease agreement, seconds – the company's decision is measured and based on the long-term rental strategy of "Devbridge" office. According to the RE expert, the company has taken a step towards signing a pre-lease agreement and thus securing a lease scenario and an area that is as close to its needs as possible.
"Many companies in the technology sector are really growing during the pandemic, so business is looking ahead and planning the need for office lease. Companies do not plan to abandon offices. They rather plan to extend or sign new lease agreements. The market remains active – the office lease strategy is a long-term planning process and the forced vacancy of offices is temporary. So far, only a small number of companies are giving up part or all the available space when others, as in the case of "Devbridge", increase it", – M. Babilas reviews the market situation.
Next to the business centre, the company "YIT Lietuva" is developing a housing project "Naujasis Skansenas" created by Algirdas Kaušpėdas and his studio "JP Architektūra" and architect Vytautas Biekša. It is planned that the first stage will be completed in the spring of next year.
Currently, “YIT Lietuva” is also implementing projects in Vilnius: "Matau Vilnių" neat the Tauras Hill and the second stage of the "Raitininkų sodas" just across the Kalnų Park. In Kaunas, on the right bank of the Neris, is implementing the urbanistic "Piliamiestis" block, carries out the repair works of the major highway A1, constructs the intersection of different levels of the railway road and the motorway in Vievis, etc.