Lithuanian Government Sets New Deadline for Reconstruction of Palace of Sports

Photo: Tomas Lukšys/BFL, © 2017 Baltijos fotografijos linija

The Lithuanian Government decided Wednesday to push back the deadline for reconstruction of the Palace of Sports in Vilnius for use as conference center and cultural events venue from 2018 to 2021. The move follows law enforcement getting bogged down in investigations of earlier public procurement for the project.

A statement by the Government said under the new scheme the Vilnius Congress Center project would be implemented within three years. The sitting of the cabinet of ministers approved a proposal from the Finance Ministry on the issue.

Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis said the lack of a modern conference center in Vilnius would hinder greatly the expansion of conference tourism in Lithuania.

“We want Vilnius to have a large modern conference center. This will put the Lithuanian capital on a higher competitive level in the tourism industry. Conference tourism in Vilnius could also lead to new business niches and pull in more private investment,” the Lithuanian PM said.

A Government press release said planning and reconstruction of the Palace of Sports building will consist of two separate purchases. Although that means it will take more time, the Government said they hoped this would lead to more rational, economical and transparent work.

The schedule provides 1.1 million euros from the state budget in 2018 for preparing a technical plan, which will make clear the amount of work and materials required and allow for budgeting reconstruction work. An international architectural tender is to be held for selecting the drafter of that plan. The Government hopes this will lead to the best concept for architecture, adaptation of interior space and use.

The conference center project will be carried out in conjunction with the earlier project for putting in order and commemorating the Šnipiškės Jewish cemetery based on solutions arrived at with the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe on May 16, 2016.

The earlier plan was for the building to be renovated in 2018 for use as a conference center and public events venue in 2019.

If reconstruction is completed in 2021, events would be held in the building beginning in 2022. The building is planned to host 10 international conferences and 10 concerts or other cultural events annually, with 15,000 visitors per year.

Full story in Lithuanian here.