“Capitalica Asset Management”, the SBA Group company developing the Verde business centre in Riga, has entered into one of the largest lease agreements in the Latvian office market recently with Swisscom, the largest telecommunications company in Switzerland. According to the agreement, Swisscom will move into Verde owned by Capitalica Baltic Real Estate Fund I this summer and till 2024 will increase the leasable area from 1500 to almost 4,000 sqm, according to a press release from the company.
The need for sustainability and functionality
“The arrival of a prominent international tenant focused on employee welfare and sustainability justifies our strategic direction to offer the highest class and greenest offices in the city to the high potential Riga market. Swisscom’s recognition will undoubtedly catalyse the arrival of other tenants, and we are currently in extensive negotiations with companies looking to settle in Verde. We expect successful results soon,” says Andrius Barštys, CEO of Capitalica Asset Management.
Swisscom is not only the largest telecommunications service provider but also one of the leading IT companies in Switzerland. As early as the end of 2020, it announced a plan to set up a second DevOps centre outside Switzerland in Riga by 2025, with an investment of up to EUR 20 million. The company has set itself the ambitious goal of creating one of Europe’s leading technology development centres in Riga. Swisscom is already present in Riga, renting 440 sqm of office space, and the Verde location will increase the international company’s rental space by almost 10-fold.
“The choice in favour of VERDE office complex is logical and natural. Firstly, because we can grow together with VERDE. According to our growth strategy 2025, we make annual plans for the size of our team. Our team will increase from 40 to 120 employees this year, to 200 employees in 2023 and to 280 employees by the end of 2024. Here, we will be able to gradually grow along with the development of the office complex. Secondly, sustainability is one of Swisscom’s strategic priorities, with another challenging goal to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. In that respect, our values correspond with VERDE’s values, and we see that together we will be able to attain that goal. And thirdly, the location and infrastructure of VERDE perfectly meet our needs as a company and employees,” says Elīna Branta, Swisscom DevOps Center Latvia Product Manager.
In addition to the office space, Verde is also renting a 200 sqm terrace for employees.
“Although the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected our habits and work arrangements, the world’s leading IT, financial and other companies see their future development largely in connection with the creation of an attractive, flexible and cooperation-oriented work environment for their employees. We will provide amenities exactly of this type in combination with a private 200 m2 terrace to one of the fastest-growing IT companies in Latvia – Swisscom,” comments VERDE Commercial Director Iveta Lace.
Investors have discovered Riga
Eriks Bergmans, partner and head of Colliers Baltics, says that the office market is gaining strong momentum both in Riga and in other Baltic capitals. Companies have already changed their strategies regarding work organisation and changes in office functionality have become more important than ever. For tenants, it is now particularly important that the space can be adapted to mixed working principles – both in the office and working from home. Mr Bergmans also notes that tenants are becoming more demanding in terms of quality, sustainability, and offices’ internal climate. Financial, IT, start-up and global service companies entering the market are increasingly looking at opportunities to expand their business in Riga For these reasons, the modern and green office centre Verde is a strong example of how to design future offices that can adapt to business needs.
The two Verde buildings will have a leasable area of 30,000 sqm and a total area of 45,000 sqm, including an underground car park that is already built. The two 11-storey buildings will feature a landscaped 600 sqm terrace with outdoor workplaces and other amenities that will improve the employees’ productivity and well-being. The first building will be the first and only class A office building, due to open in Riga in June this year. The second building, for which construction has already started, is scheduled to open in May 2023.
The Verde business centre is being developed by Capitalica Asset Management, an SBA Group company, and. Notus Developers, another group’s company manages the construction process. The general contractor is Latvian construction company Velve. The investment in Verde is expected to amount to more than EUR 65 million.
In addition to Verde, Capitalica Baltic Real Estate Fund I also owns the business centres Kauno Dokas and Z135 in Vilnius and the shopping centre Luizė in Klaipėda.