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MERKO has completed reconstruction of Neringa hotel and restaurant

The team of the private limited company UAB Merko Statyba has completed the reconstruction of the legendary Neringa hotel and restaurant. It took three years to renovate the old historic hotel with the restaurant, and to build two more hotel blocks and a new underground car park.

“To become a general contractor for reconstruction of the historic Neringa complex was both a huge recognition and responsibility for the MERKO company. We fully understood the importance of this building to the community of Vilnius, so we felt responsible not only to the customer, but also to all Vilnius’ residents. I am glad that the MERKO team has successfully overcome all the challenges, and soon local people as well as city guests will be able to visit the renovated Neringa restaurant or to stay in the hotel again,” said Mr Saulius Putrimas, Chief Executive Officer of UAB Merko Statyba.

Preservation of historical heritage makes the biggest challenge

“The initial plan was to reconstruct the old hotel and restaurant and to build an extension to the building. However, the investigations had showed that the structures of the hotel building were in a critical condition and needed to be dismantled. Here, we had a very difficult task to dismantle and then rebuild all the structures while preserving the facade wall and its central symmetrical composition. The situation was further aggravated by the fact that this wall faces Gedimino Avenue, which is always full of people and various events used to take place there,” said Mr Žilvinas Pakutinskas, Project Director of UAB Merko Statyba, commenting the complexity of the works.

The situation and the historic value of the building was a constant reminder to us that even the slightest mistake was not allowable here. Thus, special structures for the reinforcement of the facade wall were made, and only after that we started dismantling the old disintegrating structures and building the new ones.

After completing these works, the MERKO team started the construction of the new extension blocks. The biggest challenge here was to preserve the historic interior of the Neringa restaurant. For this purpose, a special ceiling was installed above a part of the protected Neringa restaurant, and above another part there were specific monolithic and metal constructions, which surrounded the part of the main hall of the restaurant, and later one of the hotel extension blocks with new rooms was built above it.

However, Mr Pakutinskas said, these works were not the last in relation with the preservation of heritage. Along with excavation works, archaeological research took place, and during it the remains of an ancient kiln, typical of the 1st half of 16th-17th centuries, were found.

“Preserving heritage for future generations is worth taking the trouble. Of course, we faced new challenges again, as the remains of the kiln were in the path of the piledriver movement on the small construction site, so first of all, we had to figure out how to protect this finding and finish installing the bored pile foundations. Due to the smooth co-operation of all the partners, we quickly found new project solutions that allowed us to preserve the remains of the kiln and to display it to the public,” said Mr Pakutinskas.

Construction and reconstruction of hotels make long-term working experience

Reconstruction of the Neringa complex is the fifth hotel construction project successfully implemented by UAB Merko Statyba. The first of them was the reconstruction of Radisson Blue Lietuva hotel, followed by the construction of Novotel, ibis Vilnius Center hotels and the construction of the extension block at Radisson Blu Lietuva. The construction and reconstruction buildings are certainly very different jobs.

“In a new project, everything is new, straight, smooth, and strong; you only need to prepare a project, plan your works and stick to them. When it comes to reconstruction, you have to be dynamic, flexible, and react quickly to the changing situation; you have to manage the construction processes skilfully, and also know the peculiarities of different structures and even understand methods of ancient construction,” said Mr Pakutinskas comparing the differences between new construction and reconstruction.

In any case, the hotels built by MERKO have already become an integral part of Vilnius’ architectural landscape and will undoubtedly leave a bright mark on the architecture of the capital.