“We are pleased to be growing our portfolio with the acquisition of these two properties. UNIQ and Zala 1 represent desirable, well-located, and high-quality offices that are very complementary to our existing footprint in both Vilnius and Riga. This transaction consolidates Eastnine’s position as the leading prime office landlord and investor in the Baltics, having assembled a portfolio exceeding 130,000 sqm in gross leasable area and EUR 400 million in value over the past four years,” says Kestutis Sasnauskas, the CEO of Eastnine.
The first property, the 6,900 sqm UNIQ office building, is located at A. Goštauto St. 12A in Vilnius. The business centre is in a strategically convenient location, easily accessible from both Vilnius’s Old Town and its central business district. One of the Lithuanian capital’s most important transport arteries, Geležinio Vilko Street, is beside the facility. Built in 2016, the seven-storey class A business centre features modern architecture and innovative technical solutions. The property is LEED Platinum certified. Its sole tenant is a Danske Bank IT service centre.
“UNIQ is in fact a unique project in Vastint Lithuania's portfolio. It is the first LEED Platinum project in the Baltic region, built on the site of a demolished inefficient building, notable for exceptional interior elements designed together with the tenant. The development and sale of the UNIQ business centre is a good example of the value-add potential lying within our portfolio, which we will continue to realize. Vastint Lithuania is expanding its activities in Lithuania and aims to renew its portfolio by investing in integrated mixed-use commercial and residential projects,” says Kęstutis Vedeckis, the CEO of Vastint Lithuania.
The other property is the Zala 1 business centre, with GLA of over 3,600 sqm class A property located in the historical centre of Riga, Latvia. The property, which had housed a tobacco factory since 1899, was reconstructed in 2009 into a modern five-storey office building with a two-storey underground car park. The property is LEED Platinum certified. The main tenants of the building are Microsoft, iVF Riga clinic, Arvato Systems, Sicor Biotech, and CBRE.
“Zala 1 is unique, too, being a combination of heritage building and complex underground engineering (the car park is more than 6,000 square meters in size, two levels below the surface and 6 meters below the ground water level). The property is one of a kind in the historical centre of Riga, a.k.a. the Embassy District. We look forward to building a good-neighbour relationship with Eastnine, as we remain the owners of the adjacent AC Hotel by Marriott Riga and continue developing the Magdelēnas Kvartāls on the other side of Antonijas Street,” adds Romans Astahovs, the CEO of Vastint Latvia.
The Vastint group, which is owned by Interogo Holding, maintains a strong commitment to ecology and social responsibility in all countries and has taken the decision, in developing real estate projects, to certify all buildings under the BREEAM or LEED international systems. Both of the properties sold in the transaction have LEED Platinum certification for sustainable design and construction.
“This deal demonstrates that regardless of the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, the office segment remains one of the most attractive in the Baltics in the eyes of real estate investors. We believe that the office market in the Baltics is poised to benefit in the long run for a number of fundamental reasons, the main one being a continuous influx of office occupants from more expensive Western Europe and the Nordics,” says Andrius Švolka, Head of Transactions at Newsec in the Baltics.
"By providing financing for the Vilnius property, SEB is contributing to the sustainable growth of class A office buildings in the Baltic capitals. Buildings that receive top certifications reflect a mature real estate market and a socially responsible business community, at the same time showing the efforts of modern business to create long-term value. The credit agreement which has been concluded demonstrates a shared approach to sustainable business values in a successful partnership between SEB Bank and Eastnine. This may become a ongoing impetus for the commercial property investment market in the country and the Baltics,” says Vilius Juzikis, a Member of the Board at SEB Bank and Head of the Corporate Banking Division.
Newsec acted as the sole advisor to Vastint in the Lithuanian property transaction, whereas Catella acted as the lead advisor to Vastint in the Latvian property transaction.
The buyer was represented in the transaction by the law firms Walless Lithuania and Ellex Latvia, while the seller was advised on legal matters by the law firms Fort Latvia and Glimstedt Lithuania. SEB in Lithuania and OP in Latvia financed the transaction.