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Real Estate: Upmarket Industry

In Latvia the decrease of industrial production started in the late 20th century, coinciding with major political and economic changes. Consequently Riga is packed full of empty, redundant industrial sites and buildings that are no longer necessary but are remnants of the large scale economic system of the Soviet era.

After several years of stagnation and neglect, the city's industrial sites are facing a boom of conversions and re-use. Factory and industrial conversions are a trend that finally seems to be catching on in Latvia. The current practice of dealing with Riga's industrial heritage usually involves leveling these unprotected premises and building new developments but some developers are now seeing the potential for creative conversions.

In Kipsala an old Gypsum factory was converted into an up-market residential complex. A few museums are operating in former industrial buildings and Riga has a concert venue "Sapnu Fabrika" that was converted from a disused factory. The former industrial areas of VEF and RVR are being turned into business and commercial sites where many of the original buildings are being refurbished and facades retained. The latest conversion is in Pardaugava. Tekstiliana, a former textiles plant will now become fashionable residences.

Driving around Riga you will see many abandoned sites and the possibilities of creating interesting and historic housing and infrastructure, like London's Docklands, are endless.