In Stopiņi Parish, development of a low-rise residential quarter Līčukrasti has started in just a five-minute drive from the Riga border. It is a quarter where a lot of attention will be paid to people, the environment, the level of comfort and improvement. In an interview with m2 magazine and the portal varianti.lv, the person behind the idea and the owner of the new residential concept Harijs Čīka says that in the next five to seven years he will create a unique living environment in Līčukrasti.
I work in the real estate industry and at the same time I have proven myself in other areas of business abroad, Harijs Čīka introduces himself. I first tried working in the real estate industry in 2005 when I was engaged in construction of private houses in the vicinity of Riga. I believe that everyone in this life should try to think not only about making money, but also about leaving something important behind. Based on this philosophical thought, I did not even use a template for my first projects, I looked more broadly without taking into account what was generally accepted. I have never followed the established rules, I tried to create a high-quality result, paying attention to both architecture and functional solutions of real estate. I build what others and I myself liked. It is gratifying to see that even after fifteen years, many of my buildings have not fallen out of fashion and lost attractiveness.
For most of the time after 2010, I have been doing business outside Latvia. This work enriched my experience and knowledge, allowed me to move to a new level. When abroad, I was often involved in charismatic real estate projects, from which I always took some valuable conclusions. It so happened that three years ago I came to a conclusion: my heart wanted to be useful again in my native Latvia, of which I have always been and will remain a patriot. I wanted to invest the money I earned abroad in Latvia in areas where I have professional knowledge: real estate and construction. I started researching and analysing offers in the local market. I remember at that time I did not like that some developers working in Latvia forced a new standard project format on their clients, literally copying them. All you have to do is put on a plate with a serial number.
During my research, I noticed a bank’s portfolio offer for the sale of a plot of land in Līči, Stopiņi Parish: 2.8 hectares, with unfinished buildings and a part of a large flowing pond. I went there and realized: this is a natural place in Pierīga where I can give life to an unorthodox project. I bought that plot of land at auction. It was 2018… Since then, for more than two years now, a team of professionals familiar to me and I have been developing the concept of Līčukrasti, keeping the existing landscape in mind. It has taken a long time to prepare the technical documentation of the project; I hope the project will stand out in the Latvian real estate market. Especially considering that it is not intended for a narrow circle of buyers of elite housing, but for the foundation of any country – its middle class, which is worthy of a higher standard of housing.
First of all, Gatis Didrihsons. He is one of the most sought-after, leading Latvian architects, also the chairman of the National Council of Architecture. I have known him for a long time. He usually doesn’t work with projects that are below business class. However, I managed to excite him with my idea and instil confidence in him about the prospect of the project in a high-quality place to live not in the expensive centres of Riga or Jūrmala, but in a democratic, natural and geographically advantageous location near the capital. It was Gatis Didrihsons who gave Līčukrasti its modern and environmentally friendly architecture.
Another important partner of Līčukrasti is the company LABIE KOKI projekti, which is managed by Edgars Neilands. The company employs some of the best landscape designers in our country; they not only develop greening projects but also implement them in a professional manner. The company LABIE KOKI projekti prepared a thorough and gradually implementable plan to preserve and improve the natural landscape and environment of Līčukrasti.
What will the Līčukrasti project look like in real life?
Līčukrasti – a modern, developed quarter, which, as I said, is 2.8 hectares large. It is a quarter of low-rise buildings: buildings have no more than three floors. The central part of the quarter is closed and intended for cars, and there is space here reserved for residents to buy. Six stages of project development are planned, within the framework of which we will build both modern residential buildings and commercial area. We plan to create 100 new housing units after the completion of the project – classic-style apartments and row house sections.
We trust the Latvian market, we trust the segment we are focusing on, so this autumn we are starting the first stage: we will complete the construction of the apartment building. It will have two staircases and 24 apartments. The plans are carefully considered and rational. Their author is Gatis Didrihsons; he is able to meet and satisfy the requirements of a wide range of customers. The most attractive offer is an apartment of 38.6 square meters (living room and one bedroom) and a terrace of 6 square meters. The apartment costs 82,724 euros. The first stage will be mainly apartments with one or two bedrooms. All of them have a balcony or a terrace. The best option for a buyer who needs space is a first floor apartment with three bedrooms and the total area of 106.6 square meters. The gem of the apartment is a personal plot of land with a terrace and a well-groomed lawn with the area of 56.4 square meters enclosed by a “green fence”. Leave the apartment and enjoy life in your own private house!
All apartments will be completely finished.
The “firstborn” of Līčukrasti will be completely ready in the spring of 2021. Simultaneously with its construction, the first stage of the improvement works of the adjacent territory will be carried out. It is planned to create an ornamental pine garden above the underground parking garage and storage rooms. There will be wild berry bushes next to it. We will set up walking trails, a children’s playground and place sun loungers…
Are the plans for the next stages already known?
The second stage will begin in 2021 when we will start the construction of a three-storey building with 40 apartments.
The third stage is the construction of the commercial area, possibly a kindergarten, co-working space, and a cafe.
The fourth stage – a building with 12–18 apartments.
After that, eight sections of row houses will be built.
The final stage – another building, possibly a health centre. We plan that the entire project implementation period will be five to seven years.
The object of pride – improvement of the territory. According to the concept, after the completion of these works, Līčukrasti will be a popular place for living, recreational activities and walks (this project was developed by the company LABIE KOKI projekti). We create housing in natural environment. We have more than 2,000 ha of forest next to us; in our territory, we will plant 120 (!) new ornamental and exotic trees and other different greenery in the area of 1,260 square meters. The lawn area will exceed 15,000 square meters. We will create a large canopy, which our residents will be able to use for holding personal celebrations. We will build 2,548 square meters of paths, and we will place 19 benches for rest along them. We will set up three picnic areas. We plan to build a twenty-two meter long bridge that will connect the opposite shores of the pond and will form a connection of the circle of paths. We will place several berths in the water body, which can be used by both swimmers and fishers. A variety of amusements and swings will offer fun for children, while lovers of recreational activities will have street workout equipment and a basketball court.
And all these benefits will be freely available to the residents and guests of our quarter. To ensure peace and security, the complex territory is fenced and equipped with an access control system. The access of cars to Līčukrasti will be controlled by automatic gates.
I will also mention another important fact: there is a public transport stop right next to the quarter we are building. With the development of the quarter, there will be a bus, which will take children to school.
To conclude the introduction to the project Līčukrasti, I will add: “When I first started talking with banks about co-financing the project and lending to buyers, many thought that this is too ambitious. They told me to make it simpler and do it in a different way.” But I was relentless: Everything must be modern and unique! This has become our motto. And I can keep the vision of my project alive – a kind of “mountain of glass”. To convince that Latvians not only want, but can also afford to live in better quality conditions than what is currently offered in the economy class of the new housing segment.