Lithuania ramps up PPP programme

Having made progress in road and prison PPPs, the country has now turned its attention to courts and ‘multi-functional hubs’.

Lithuania, which is becomingly increasingly active in public-private partnerships (PPPs), has announced two more projects – both centred on the capital city of Vilnius.

One of the projects sees Vilnius seeking a private partner for a PPP to establish and operate a so-called “multi-functional hub” in a 22.9-hectare territory adjacent to the city’s busiest commercial area.

The Central Project Management Agency, which is acting on behalf of Vilnius City Municipality and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, is asking for private investors to come forward to develop the project.

The mandate for the hub includes: a pre-school educational facility; a conference hall; commercial premises for start-up businesses; a public library; four football fields; nine running tracks; three university sports halls; accommodation for 100 people; administrative premises; a sports museum; venues for indoor cultural events; and an outdoor national/municipal public events venue with 20,000 seats and a parking area.

Lithuania, which joins the Eurozone in January next year, is planning a financing structure that will include European Union structural investments together with integrated territorial investment programmes with the aim of reducing initial investment costs and risks for the private partner.

The private entity would be responsible for construction and availability risk, while the public side will make monthly payments and provide structural financial assistance after construction is completed. Excluding the commercial development, the hub will revert to public ownership after a maximum of 25 years.

In a separate development, three technical solutions have been put forward for a design, build, finance, maintain (DBFM) project for a new court building in Vilnius. The proposals will be evaluated later this month, with those meeting the necessary requirements moving on to “competitive dialogue”.

Ultimately, the winner of the tender will deliver a modern building for the Vilnius Regional Court, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, the Supreme Court of Lithuania and the National Court Administration, in 2017.

The hub and court projects further underline the strides Lithuania has been making as a PPP market. In July, the county approved four prison PPPs while, in the same month, the Ministry of Transport and Communications submitted the Vilnius-Utena highway PPP for government approval.

The country also has a street lighting project operated by Italian company Gemmo close to financial close, as well as processes underway for a police station in Vilnius and a parking concession (with three and four firms respectively in the running).