Kaunas at the International Exhibition MIPIM: The Attractiveness of the City is Enhanced by Clearly Stated Strengths
Photo: A. Aleksandravičius.
In mid-March, the city of Kaunas was presented to investors from around the world in one of the most important and largest real estate and investment exhibitions MIPIM 2019, organized for the 30th time in Cannes, France. This year, it was visited by nearly 27 thousand visitors from more than 100 countries. 3,100 companies participated in the exhibition, occupying 40,000 square meters of space. Kaunas investment projects were presented by the international marketing, tourism and investment agency VšĮ Kaunas IN.
During the exhibition, Kaunas IN representatives organized more than two dozen targeted meetings with potential international developers, facility operators, contractors, investors, financial intermediaries, architects and other specialists working in the real estate business. During events and conferences, more than fifty contacts were made with great potential to grow into joint activities in the future: some of the foreign real estate investors have shown interest in specific objects in Kaunas, others have expressed a desire to learn more about the potential of the RE sector and the investment environment in the city. The work with these potential partners will continue after the end of the exhibition: information packages are being prepared for targeted inquiries, and inbound visits will be coordinated and organized.
In this year’s presentation of Kaunas, the main attention was devoted to four major public projects of the city: Kaunas Science Island, the reconstruction project of S. Darius and S. Girėnas Stadium, Aleksotas Innovation Park and M. K. Čiurlionis Concert Center. Considering the steady growth of tourism and overnight stays during the recent years as well as the future tourist attractions and especially the fact of Kaunas becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2022, the great need of hotels in Kaunas was also actively discussed during the exhibition.
As noted by the Head of Business Division and Acting Director of Kaunas IN Tadas Stankevičius, the architectural solutions for the future Čiurlionis Concert Center and Science Island received a lot of attention and questions. Aleksotas Innovation Park came under the spotlight during the meetings. Potential investors and developers were mostly interested in the size of the plot, development and enlargement possibilities, strategic location that is convenient and close to the city center and practical use of the innovation park, its functionality, and technological solutions.
“This exhibition was a great platform for networking between private and public sector companies and top-level leaders from different parts of the world: successful urban development depends directly on the smooth cooperation between these two sectors. It is also a perfect place to discuss essential business issues and evaluate the attractiveness and efficiency of ongoing projects in the context of other countries,” says Tadas Stankevičius.
Probably the most common points in the investment environment and real estate sector were found with representatives from Latvia who had the stand next to Kaunas delegation and gladly shared their experience. This was highly influenced by the “Rail Baltica” project: the railway which will soon connect Riga and Kaunas, as well as similar socio-economic tendencies and public management practices.
“The exhibition only once again confirmed that although we are often unable to compete with the world’s giants considering the size or scale of investment projects, we still attract companies not only from the region but from the whole world. Especially, when we can identify and highlight our strengths, proactively talk about innovations, rational and beneficial solutions, architectural and urban quality, rationality, ambition and drive of the city,” claims Andrius Veršinskas who has presented investment projects to potential investors in the exhibition.
Real estate sector experts point out that Kaunas is laying a solid foundation for the future: Head of Research and Analytics at Newsec Property Management Mindaugas Kulbokas has no doubt that in the future Kaunas will make a living from the “Via Baltica” road that connects Central and Northern European countries. “Rail Baltica” and the largest cradle of talents – universities and higher education institutions – are undoubtedly contributing to the city’s strengths. According to the analyst, Kaunas has all the necessary conditions for the development of industrial / logistics / high tech industry: from Kaunas Free Economic Zone and Kaunas High-Tech Valley to the breakthrough of office market development, the city’s investment in infrastructure and Kaunas Municipality’s attitude towards investors.
“These are the key conditions that create added value for an investor who makes decisions about a newly built or purchased real estate object in Kaunas. The city is undoubtedly competing for attracting investment with all Central and Western Europe as well as the Nordic countries, thus, the speed, quality and businesslike attitude towards the emerging business is the advantage of Kaunas,” states Mindaugas Kulbokas, noting that there is no distinction between local and foreign investors in Kaunas: everyone receives equal quality of service and support.