The station district of Vilnius will receive changes in the near future. These changes will turn the part of the city into one that is attractive not only to travellers, but business and tourists as well. On Monday the heads of “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” and Vilnius city introduced the main accent of these changes – the vision of turning the territory of the railway station into a multifunctional business and mobility centre. These changes are foreseen in the territory of more than 20 hectares, between the streets of Geležinkelis and Pelesa.
Implementation of such vision is foreseen in the protocol of intentions, signed by the mayor of Vilnius – Remigijus Šimašius and the head of “Lietuvos Geležinkeliai” – Mantas Bartuška. The multifunctional business and mobility centre named “Vilnius Connect” shall include a park of modern offices, trade, services and leisure, where businesses and other organisations will be invited to establish themselves. It is intended to expand the pedestrian and green spaces, to ensure quick and convenient mobility for all types of transportation.
According to the mayor of Vilnius, R. Šimašius, this vision will change the face of the city, expand the city limits and will increase interest in the forgotten southern part of Vilnius.
“The centre of Vilnius has been limited by Neris to the north and by the railway to the south. The centre has already expanded beyond Neris, now it is time to expand beyond the second limit – the railway. This vision cardinally changes the southern part of the city, unites the parts of the city to this day separated by the railway and creates another attraction centre for residents, businesses and tourism. “Vilnius Connect” shall be the first strong change in the station district, which, in my vision, should become a district of Iron Vilnius – making use of its history, unique atmosphere, architecture and infrastructure”, – states R. Šimašius.
According to the mayor, the cooperation with “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” will help to solve another significant problem the city faces – the issue of a modern bus station. “We are seeking to create a new and modern bus station in the territory of the railway station. Both stations would be connected by a single underground pedestrian axle and such solution would be especially convenient to travellers. New infrastructure and arranged public spaces shall appear in the surrounding area,” says the mayor of Vilnius.
“It is the most important that the visions of the city and “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” correspond – both organisations have gone through great changes during the past several years, they have grown stronger and can now talk about projects of such scale, projects which will positively change the face of the city”, – stressed R. Šimašius.
According to the director general of “Lietuvos geležinkeliai”, Mantas Bartuška, the multifunctional business and mobility centre will improve the effectiveness of the company and will create greater benefit to the state. The project of modernising Vilnius railway station is intended to be implemented in stages. In the first stage the offices, where “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” central headquarter will be, are planned. The administration of Vilnius city municipality will also consider moving to the new offices.
“We are seeking to improve the effectiveness of “Lietuvos geležinkeliai” operations and to make a better use of the property we possess. After completing a comprehensive analysis and evaluating the advanced international practice, we intend to turn Vilnius railway station into a modern business and mobility centre. In such way we will unite people and businesses by offering a wide package of services available in one place. We shall modernise the infrastructure and adjust it to contemporary needs. Our vision is to create contemporary infrastructure which would allow to quickly and conveniently reach cities of Lithuania and other countries,” – stated M. Bartuška.
According to him, the “Vilnius Connect” project, combining various types of transportation, shall correspond with the concepts of railway stations of Berlin, Frankfurt and Vienna, where a wide spectrum of services – catering, accommodation, office rent are available in one place. The project of new European tracks “Rail Baltica”, which will connect Vilnius with Kaunas, Panevėžys, Warsaw, Riga, Tallinn, Pärnu and Helsinki will give even more uniqueness to the new mobility centre.
According to the director of Lithuanian Real Estate Development Association, Mindaugas Statulevičius, the district of Vilnius railway station has a lot of potential, it is slowly being discovered by real estate developers and people seeking for new investment projects.
“I believe the district has been forgotten undeservedly. Practice of other countries shows, that station districts have a great economical and property value growth potential. Naturally, a high quality of life requires infrastructure, fast and convenient communication with the city centre, contemporary services. The district of Vilnius railway station has a great potential for development, to combine the needs of business and people,” – stated M. Statulevičius.
According to him, a new business park territory might form around the station district.
“For example, in Frankfurt, offices not far from the central station are in great demand and they are very popular, because everything is concentrated in on place – convenient communications infrastructure, offices, a hotel, stores etc. Modern communications centres attract businesses, and businesses expand according to the flow generated by them, they create new services,” – said the real estate expert.
The designing enterprise of Vilnius city municipality, “Vilniaus planas” has provided their own vision, how the territory of Vilnius railway station could look. The submitted visualisations convey the idea of the vision of the project, however those are not the final solutions.
“We, as an organisation, understand that his project is of great importance to the city in a historic sense and we want that the local community, architects, artists and other interested parties would contribute to its implementation. We are open for a dialogue with everyone. We are inviting young architects and artists with progressive future ideas to join us. In such way, we will find the best architectural and functional solutions for the project,” – stressed M. Bartuška.
Currently it is being considered, what is the best way to implement the project. It is likely, that the implementation of the project will be assigned to an exterior partner which has experience with projects of such type and which provides the best offer during a public selection.