Citus, a real estate development company in Vilnius and Kaunas, announced in May that it was planning a multifunctional project in the former Nemunas sanatorium in Druskininkai. After intensive research and consultations with the city municipality, Citus has presented a vision for the revival of Nemunas and invites service businesses such as restaurants, spas and sports club operators to join the project, according to a press release.
The nearly 20,000 sq m Nemunas sanatorium complex, which was acquired by the Citus Group for EUR 3.63 million at an auction announced by the Druskininkai municipality, will become a new attraction for living, recreation and work in a few years. The investment in the project is expected to amount to almost EUR 28.5 million.
“Palanga is a city of bustle, action and noisy entertainment. Moreover, Palanga is essentially a single-season resort. Druskininkai is the opposite. It is a city-park where peace, relaxation and rest in the embrace of the health springs that nature offers prevail in all seasons. This environment also inspired a legend of Druskininkai and all of Lithuania – Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. We aim to enrich the legendary Nemunas and symbolise revival through the artist’s work,” says Mindaugas Vanagas, the founder of Citus.
According to the owner of the company, the architects of the well-known Kaunas studio Archas, who are working on the project, plan to use the works of M. K. Čiurlionis to breathe life into the facades of the reconstructed Nemunas. The artist’s famous paintings, created ted on the panels separating the balconies that cover the entire facade, would stand out from certain perspectives.
A private spa hotel
According to the vision of the project, after the conversion, the former sanatorium will become apartments for living and relaxation, but with a package of entertainment and services typical of a hotel: a restaurant, fitness club, spa, etc. Citus is currently actively looking for service operators who are interested in the revival of the Nemunas complex and invites them to join and work on the unique project.
Mr Vanagas said that the aim was to return Nemunas to its former use, but it would not be viable to build a hotel of this size, given the current competitive conditions. Meanwhile, the popularity of second or holiday homes has recently increased significantly, and it is believed that the special offer of apartments with additional services in Druskininkai will be attractive to people looking for a second or holiday home from all over Lithuania and abroad, as well as to investors intending to rent out apartments.
The possibility of offering management services to apartment owners is under consideration, so that residents do not have to take care of anything when staying there – just like being in their own hotel – and buyers will be able to choose between partial or full finishing packages.
The ground floor of the former sanatorium will house a spa centre and restaurant, with an extension of these on the roof space, where a restaurant terrace and cocktail bar are planned, as well as a spectacular spa water area. This will be the highlight of the whole complex. On the ground floor, there will be space for a co-working area, a children’s nursery, a sports club and other relevant services.
The remaining nine floors will comprise around 370 apartments of different sizes, ranging from 1 to 3 rooms and 18 to 80 square metres.
The services provided in Nemunas, such as a spa centre, restaurant, etc., will be available to all residents and guests of Druskininkai. The project will not have an enclosed area, and a park is planned around the building, which will also be open to all. This will also increase synergies with the Druskininkai Cultural Centre, which is being completed next door.
The Nemunas building will be preserved and revived
The owner of Citus said that before acquiring the former sanatorium, a detailed assessment of the building’s condition had been carried out and it was found that, in principle, all the structures were sound and solid and had not been damaged during the period of disuse. It was therefore decided to keep it, but to substantially renovate all the engineering systems, the facades and the internal partitions.
“We want to preserve the building for a number of key reasons. First of all, it is much more sustainable than demolishing, clearing waste and building anew. We also looked at it from this perspective. Also, such monumental buildings are coming back into fashion around the world, and Nemunas is amazing because of its expressive stature, which makes it stand out from its surroundings, and its height, where the roof overlooks the whole city and the picturesque natural panorama. In the next phases of the project, new matching buildings volumes will be built next to each other, but it’s too early to tell,” says Vanagas.
The project will consist of three phases: the first phase, which will be split into two parts, will consist of the conversion of the main building into apartments and the demolition of two small ancillary buildings adjacent to the main building; the second and third phases will consist of the construction of the new hotel buildings. The second and third phases will be decided at a later stage, after the first phase is underway.
The first phase will be completely independent and unrelated to the later phases: the Nemunas building will be completely renovated, all common areas will be equipped and the environment will be landscaped. The main construction works of the first phase are expected to start immediately after the building permit is granted. If, as targeted, this is achieved in May next year, sales will start in spring next year, and the first owners will be able to move in a year later, in mid-2023. Initial cleaning works should start this December.
Citus has experience with conversion projects – a few years ago in Kaunas, the Telegrafas project became one of the first heritage buildings in Lithuania to be restored under the authenticity programme, and now work is underway at the former Kaunas radio factory Banga, which has become Radio City. In the latter project, Citus is also collaborating with the architecture studio Archas.
Arinela, which acquired the Nemunas complex, is managed by Mindaugas Vanagas and his business partner Kęstas Gylis.
Figures and facts
- Address of plot: Liepų g. 1, Druskininkai;
- Plot size: 215.13 a (2.15 ha);
- Estimated investment: EUR 28.3 million;
- Use: hotel, apartments;
- Number of apartments: Phase I – 374; Phases II and III (combined) – 200;
- Number of commercial spaces: 9 (Phase I);
- Total floor area: Phase I – 17.6 thousand sq m; Phases II and III (combined) – 8 thousand sq m;
- Apartment area: Phase I – 12,7 thousand sq m; Phases II and III (combined) – 7.6 thousand sq m;
- Number of rooms: 1-3;
- Apartment size: 18-80 sq m;
- Preliminary prices: ~2,000 EUR/sq m;
- Commercial space: 2.3 thousand sq m (in stage 1);
- Preliminary prices for commercial spaces: ~2,000 EUR/sq m;
- Number of project phases: 3 (Phase I will consist of two parts);
- Designer: Studio Archas;
- Construction manager: Citus Construction;
- Planned construction period: start of Phase I construction: 2022.05; completion of the first part of Phase I: Q1 2023, completion of the second part: Q1 2024; start of Phase II construction: 2024, completion of Phase II: 2026