A1 commercial building takes development of Kaunas forward

Oct 28, 2019

Major commercial premises, where each tenant has their own logistics, office and showroom areas, have been built in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas. Besides practical premises that work effectively for customers, energy efficiency and imposing looks were the owner’s main criteria for the building. Ruukki supplied the energy panels for the commercial building, which is known as “A1”.

An impressive building has sprung up alongside the A1 highway, which connects the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius with the port city of Klaipeda. The building, which takes its name from the A1 highway, is home to 16 companies that share a need for their own logistics, showroom and office areas. The building is 402 metres long and has a floor area of around 17,500 square metres. Its tenants include two furniture manufacturers and companies that sell doors, bags, electronics, plumbing equipment, tools, pet food and other merchandise.

The A1 premises are owned by EPRO Group, a property development company headed by Vaidotas Ščiaponis and Algirdas Skukauskas.

“The building must serve our customers’ businesses well, and be energy efficient and impressive: in other words, it needs to catch the eye,” says Vaidotas Ščiaponis, referring to the criteria for the building.

The building was completed in 2018.

 

Decision based on a strong track record

Led by its owners, EPRO Group began by selling building finishing materials, but since 2006 it has focused solely on property development. EPRO’s normal business model is to acquire land, create a concept, develop the infrastructure and then sell the finished project. In some cases, like in the A1 building’s case, EPRO Group implemented the project on its own and now rents the built premises.

Vaidotas Ščiaponis says that contrary to their normal business practice, they began the construction project before all the premises had tenants.

“I had faith in the project myself and that was the most important thing. Based on years of experience, I just sensed that there was a demand for the type of building where each tenant has not only logistics space, but also office and showroom areas. And just look what happened: tenants appeared before the premises were even completed,” says Vaidotas Ščiaponis.

 

Imposing looks in honour of Kaunas

The “A1” premises are impressive, not least because of their size. A building that is 402 metres long doesn’t disappear in a flash, even when seen from a vehicle speeding along the highway. Imposing looks were one of the most important criteria for the building.

“The idea for the façade came from drinking coffee and daydreaming. The most important cities in Lithuania sit alongside the A1. This is why the symbols of the Lithuanian cities have been painted on the panels forming the building’s façade,” explains Vaidotas Ščiaponis.

The seagulls and the lighthouse represent Klaipeda, the wood bison and the oak wood Kaunas, and the wolves and angels Vilnius. The images have been painted onto the façade so that they can also be recognisable when seen from the windows of a vehicle driving by. The images also have a more practical function: they are used instead of street numbers to help customers find the companies.

 

Energy bills halved

Energy efficiency was one of the three main criteria for the building. The energy panels supplied by Ruukki play a key role in achieving the building’s energy efficiency. Energy efficiency was tested in practice by fully disconnecting the heating in the logistics area at one end of the building. When the temperature was -15° C outside for two weeks, it was +8° C inside the logistics halls.

Vaidotas Ščiaponis says that they went a step further in terms of energy efficiency, since the building was designed and built in accordance with the higher than A-class storage facilities standards.

“We chose better products than standard ones for the building, and this also applies to the panels. I asked the construction company to compare Ruukki panels with those of an international competitor and we decided on Ruukki, not only because their products were better, but because they were also a more flexible supplier. It was definitely a successful choice and this can be seen in the low energy bills of our tenants,” says Vaidotas Ščiaponis.

Not the cheapest

During their career, Vaidotas Ščiaponis and Algirdas Skukausas have developed projects and properties for others, but for the “A1” project they wanted to develop something new. Quality has always been at the heart of EPRO Group’s operations.

“My philosophy has been to never develop anything just for quick returns. I’ve always looked far into the future. I also think that if a building is imposing and of high quality, then in a way it also adds to the development of my home town of Kaunas,” he explains.

The paintings cost the company about €40,000 extra, but some of that investment has already been recouped in the form of good PR work and new projects.

“Based on this building, I’ve received requests to come and develop properties in Vilnius and Klaipeda. An investment in façade quality and appearance is an investment in the future,” he beams.

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