The Bokšto skveras project, implemented by the owners of the Baltisches Haus, the Ortiz brothers, is a thank you to the Old Town of Vilnius, which fascinated businessmen more than two decades ago and became a strong impetus to stay in Lithuania and start a business here. The first stage of one of the largest recent real estate projects in the Old Town of Vilnius was completed in September. The emerging outline of the business and leisure complex reveals its unique history.
Demand for office space in the Old Town of the capital, which, similar to the whole of Europe, is the most valuable location of the city, has already been well above supply for several years. The reason is simple: the specific requirements make it difficult to develop new projects here, and companies which are already established in this part of the city usually stay here for long periods and change their offices only if they look for more modern premises or car parking options. Unfortunately, finding a contemporary office in the Old Town without the inconveniences caused by the Old Town is often a mission impossible.
The long-awaited business and leisure complex Bokšto skveras, which is about to open in the very heart of the city, is new to the stagnant market. Yet, this is not just another modern business centre which "will meet all the needs of the tenants," though neither modernity nor comfort is lacking here.
Only a part of the reconstructed Baroque spaces having cultural heritage status will be given for office rental. The rest of the premises will soon accommodate a restaurant, and a bit later a day spa will be opened, the former chapel will house an event hall and the green public areas will become open to the city.
It is a unique object on the real estate map in the capital. It would be incorrect to talk about it merely stating the size, price or number of lots in the underground parking space. Due to its complexity, aesthetics, high-quality engineering solutions and the scale of its preserved cultural heritage, it is difficult to compare the Bokšto skveras with other Old Town projects, especially since it does not resemble any of the glass and steel construction centres sprouting in the office space segment.
The Place Where Vilnius Began
Bokšto skveras is a 0.75ha territory, framed on one side by Bokšto and Išganytojo streets, and merging with the lower part of the Old Town near the Vilnelė river on the other side. The complex of buildings had been shaped for hundreds of years – the masonry buildings stood here already in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the land plot itself may be called the origins of Vilnius.
According to historians, together with the territories of the castle it was the most convenient place to live in a city that was still being established – archaeological research has shown that the first human activity at Bokšto g. 6 may have begun as early as the 13th century.
Since then, the territory has been under intense use. Throughout different periods, the walls of Bokšto street echoed with the monks' songs, the capital’s oldest hospital was in operation, and the city gatekeeper, who locked the gates of the defensive wall of Vilnius daily, lived here for a long time.
Much later, the period of Soviet Lithuania made a considerable devaluation of the place: protection of the heritage was neglected, and the Baroque buildings were depreciated and eventually abandoned. Archaeological research only began here in 2000, but later gained momentum and turned into consistent, meticulous and responsible work by historians and archaeologists.
The archaeological research, which took seven years, is one of the largest research projects in Vilnius Old Town: the other area which had undergone such comprehensive research in the capital is the territory of the Lower Castle.
The full article on the history of Bokšto skveras is available at: https://www.vz.lt/verslo-aplinka/2019/10/16/boksto-skveras-atgaivintoje-senamiescio-dalyje--erdves-verslui-ir-miestui or you can read it the October issue of the Verslo klasė magazine.