Šnipiškės is a micro-district in Vilnius with a long history. Known for its rich past, it is a district of stark contrasts: old-fashioned wooden houses stand next to towering luxury skyscrapers. This district, however, has been changing its face in recent years. New residential houses and office buildings are emerging; public spaces for leisure and recreation are being reconstructed. The revival of the district is especially noticeable if we look at the housing market. The housing purchases in the micro-district of Šnipiškės accounted for about 18 percent of all apartments sold in Vilnius in the first five months of 2019. Over one fifth of them (105 apartments) were purchased in the Linkmenų Lakes housing estate under development by Realco.
Perspectives of Šnipiškės
Audrius Šapoka, CEO of real estate agency Ober-Haus, claims that “Šnipiškės has a great potential for change both in the short and long term. The district already sees the development of large-scale residential projects and business centres. Moreover, further development is set to be implemented in the district: the abandoned and old district areas and plots of land as well as abandoned plants and other buildings will be converted to modern residential or commercial use. The scale of the development is reflected in figures. Between the period from 2012 to 2017, there were as many as 494 new apartments in multi-family apartment buildings per one square kilometre in this neighbourhood. Meanwhile, the average figure for Vilnius was 43 new apartments per square kilometre during the same period.”
Šnipiškės has outperformed other popular districts of Vilnius in terms of the number of apartment sales since the beginning of this year. Apartment purchases in Šnipiškės were 1.6 times the number of those purchased in Pilaitė or Naujamiestis in the first five months of 2019. A total of 465 apartments were sold in Šnipiškės compared to 283 apartment sales in Pilaitė and Naujamiestis. Moreover, the new projects under development in Šnipiškės have increased the range of apartments available for sale which attracts great interest from buyers. “We were among the first major developers to see the district’s potential and we launched the development of the Linkmenų Lakes housing estate with 550 apartments back in 2015,” Realco’s Sales Director, Marijonas Chmieliauskas said. The company is set to complete the 3rd stage of the Linkmenų Lake housing estate by 2020. It will offer housing units for 278 more families.
Advantages of Šnipiškės micro-district
What makes Šnipiškės so appealing is that it has everything that an urban resident needs. The district has numerous office buildings with plenty of businesses and jobs. It is home to Vilnius City Municipality administration, banks, other important institutions frequently visited by people as they go about their daily business. Also, Šnipiškės offers a wide range of spaces dedicated to leisure and recreational use including shopping centres, stores, market places, concert halls, gyms, and restaurants. It is a vibrant and rich district. Describing the key advantage of the district, Ober-Haus’s CEO pointed out: “It is situated close to the city centre thus it offers great transport links. From the nearby Geležinio Vilko, Ukmergės and Narbuto streets, you can quickly and conveniently reach other parts of the city using private or public transport”.
“Šnipiškės mostly attract apartment hunters aged 25 to 40. These include families, couples or single adults,” A. Šapoka said. Some time ago, elder residents made up a greater part of the population thus it can be said that the district is getting younger.
The Linkmenų Lakes housing estate is no exception as it also attracts younger generation residents. “The buyers of the apartments in our Šnipiškės development are mostly young couples aged 24 to 35. These are mostly people who work in the central part of the city and want to save their time. They do not want to waste their time commuting long distances and want to live in newly built developments offering a modern layout,” Realco’s Sales Director, Marijonas Chmieliauskas said.
Changes set to occur in the district
Further change is about to transform the face of Šnipiškės. Real estate developers who launched the development of new modern housing estates are not the only ones that will contribute to this change. Vilnius City Municipality will also make its input as the municipal plans are underway for the reconstruction of Linkmenų, Daugėliškių, Giedraičų, and Kernavės streets. A special focus will be placed on the development and modernisation of public spaces. The plans include setting up a Japanese garden at the intersection between Lvovo and Geležinio Vilko streets, cultivation of the Dragon Meadow and erection an overlook tower in this area.
The face of the city will undergo a major change following the implementation of the project for the restoration of the habitats of the old riverbed of the Neris River (between Linkmenų and Geležinio Vilko sreets). According to Vincas Brezgys, architect at Vilniaus Planas, the purpose of this project is to convert the abandoned spaces to active and passive leisure use. Residents will be able to enjoy the newly built cycle tracks, basketball courts, pétanque play areas and outdoor gyms. The project will also involve building a children playground area and an enclosed dog training and walking field for canine enthusiasts. Outdoor benches and an amphitheatre area will be built offering residents a place to have some quiet time. The green area will be recultivated with new trees, bushes and flower beds. The area to be reconstructed is situated around 4 bodies of water. Pontoon bridges will be constructed over them for pedestrian use. Moreover, a parking lot will be built for visitor use. According to Mr. Brezgys, some works are already under way, and the project is expected to be complete by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
It is obvious that Šnipiškės is gradually forging ahead and will soon claim the title as one of the most attractive districts of Vilnius. With the intense development of new housing projects, emergence of new business centres, street reconstruction and modernisation of recreational and green areas, the district is becoming an attractive source of investment and a great place to live and to enjoy the benefits of an urban life.