New building foreseen for VDD

According to the government decision of 2017, the construction of the new building of Latvian State Security Service (VDD) is planned at 207 Brīvības Gatve, Rīga, and it will commence this year.

Currently VDD occupies several buildings and the premises at the disposal of the service are in a poor condition. Taking into consideration the development of technologies and the increasing security challenges, in the near future the current premises of VDD will no longer suit the needs of VDD as a security and intelligence service of NATO and the EU member state, nor will it be possible to ensure a wholesome development of the service. Due to this reason, VDD requires new suitable premises that would allow to respond to todays’ security challenges.

The mission of VDD is to safeguard the security of the Latvian State and its citizens, which is the basis for the development of the State and the wellbeing of its citizens. Therefore the construction of a building that responds to today’s requirements for the purposes of the service is in the public interest. Taking into consideration the threats emerging from the aggressive foreign policies and security and intelligence services of hostile foreign countries with no tendency to decrease, in the current geopolitical situation it is crucial to strengthen the capacity of VDD and it conforms to the collective security interests of NATO and the EU.

The construction of the new VDD building is planned to commence this year in order to prevent the risk that the current premises of VDD in the near future will become incompatible with the requirements for protection of state secrets, and the classified information of NATO and the EU.

Such deficiencies could considerably hinder VDD’s cooperation with foreign partners.

In 2008 the Cabinet of Ministers decided on the necessity of a new building for the needs of VDD, however in 2009 due to general financial crisis the construction was postponed. Over the years the necessity for new premises appropriate for today’s requirements became increasingly urgent, until on 3 August 2017 the government decided to grant funding for the construction of the VDD building at 207 Brīvības Gatve, Rīga.

Since then, an intensive work investing several million euros on the implementation of the VDD building project has been carried out – a geological engineering survey of the land plot has been performed, a construction project has been developed, cooperation with construction supervisors has been initiated along with other preliminary activities. It should be noted that designing a building for a security and intelligence service is specific, complex and time consuming due to the high security requirements.

For the construction of the VDD building, a degraded land plot at 207 Brīvības Gatve, which has been unused and neglected for many years, was selected. According to the current Spatial Plan of Riga, which has been in force since 2006, the land plot at 207 Brīvības Gatve has always been intended for construction. The public has been deceived by spreading information in the public space that a creation of a park would have been planned in the territory. In the urban development planning documents this territory has never been designated as a green area for greenery or a park. The territory is marked as a building area in the Riga Spatial Plan 2030 as well.

It should be noted that according to the Riga City Council Binding Regulations on the using and housing of Riga territory (Regulations No.34 of 20 December 2005 "Regulations on Using and Housing the Riga Territory"), only a perimeter construction is possible in the specific area meaning that the facade of the building must be in line with the facades of the adjacent buildings.

As to rebuilding an unused, state-owned building in accordance with the needs of a security and intelligence service and the security requirements for protection of state secrets, NATO and the EU classified information would be technically much more complex and expensive than the construction of a new building. Therefore, the construction of a new building is the optimal solution, both in financial and security terms.

Deceiving information has been spread that the degraded land is "covered with 100-year old trees". At the moment most of the territory is surrounded by thick overgrown brushwood. The large oak tree together with other trees located in this territory shall be preserved. Some of the trees would interfere with the construction work therefore they will be disposed during the construction period. In the meantime, compensatory measures have already been included in the construction project, namely, new trees will be planted around the building.

Until now VDD was not entitled to disclose information on the construction of the building in order not to violate the provisions of the Law on Official Secrets. Taking into consideration the public interest, it was decided to declassify some of the information on the planned VDD development project.

Information was prepared by VDD