It’s been needed for a while. When the store opened with a great fanfare in 2008 Marks and Spencer’s first store in the Baltics was an anchor shop alongside Body Shop, Rimi, a Danish design shop, and others I have forgotten.
And more importantly perhaps Marks and Spencer left in 2011 to go across the road to Gedimino 20 (the building with St George on the roof).
The 1st floor had an electrical shop but the watch shop in the corner had gone. Note for Brits: In Lithuania there is no ground floor – it’s the first floor.
Rimi was still there on the lower floor along with Lindex clothes shop (with signs to say they were moving upstairs) but all the small kiosks had gone. To put it bluntly the store guide was out of date!
On the Sunday before I flew back I made one last trip there to show my colleague something I’d been debating buying. I was too late! The workmen were in dismantling shelves in the shop and packing up the goods.
It will be interesting to see what they do with it. Rumour has it that H&M are moving in in 2014 but they’ve been saying that since 2007!
So I’m looking forward to checking it out on my next visit later this year.
Historical note: The building was originally built by Aleksej Polozov for the offices of the Vilnius Municipality in 1893. It was later reconstructed by Antanas Spelskis in 1948 for the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party.
It was bought by an Irish based Asset Management company for €13 million in 2004 who spent €35 million developing the 18,000 sq metre site. They offered it for sale in 2007 for up to €100 million.
A Stockholm-based Baltic property fund is investing in the reconstruction of this wonderful building which will be phased with a grand re-opening in Spring 2014.