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Vilnius welcomes fresh start for Lithuania’s National Stadium project

Vilnius City Municipality has hailed a “new start” in the troubled process to deliver a new National Stadium for Lithuania.

The capital’s Municipality said it has agreed on a revised concession deal having addressed comments from the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. After the signing of the concession agreement, it will be possible to start the technical design and construction works of the National Stadium.

Located on the Šeškinė Hill site, the multi-functional complex will be anchored by a 15,000-seat stadium, with 15 other sports facilities provided including an athletics track, six basketball courts, three football training grounds, handball, gymnastics and boxing halls.

Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, said: “If a year ago it seemed that the construction of the multi-functional complex was ruined, then after putting in the maximum effort we have a positive result. I hope that the contract will be signed quickly and that the project will be implemented smoothly.”

TheMayor.eu website reports the revised text specifies that the government’s share in the investment in the project is €53.4m (£45.3m/$61.8m), with the stadium needing to comply with UEFA category IV requirements. Under the contract, Vilnius City Municipality will provide around €100m, spreading the payment over 25 years.

The concession contract will be signed with investment company BaltCap, as tender winner Axis Industries has withdrawn from the project. The Municipality may need to invest up to an additional €35m to redevelop land around the complex.

In November 2020, Vilnius Municipality extended an olive branch to the Public Procurement Office (VPT) in an effort to get the project back on course, after a court ruled that it could recommence a tender process.

The project was suspended back in May 2020 after the VPT took action against a proposed concession agreement with Axis Industries, the winning bidder, and BaltCap, the financial investor in the project.

Designed by Lithuania’s Cloud Architektai studio, the project was originally intended to be completed in 2023.

Image: Vilnius City Municipality