top of page
  • hughjwade

Where in the World is Ryan Schwalbe? - August 2023

Carmen Sandiego isn't the only one who goes on a walkabout every once in a while!

On a whim, two months ago, Ryan decided to buy a plane ticket and research the commercial real estate market of a far-flung place to learn how other folks do business and bring back any nuggets of wisdom to the Alaska market and his clients.

As a result, the second week of August, he hopped on a plane, and after a layover in Frankfurt, he touched down in Riga, Latvia.

While there, he talked to lawyers, bankers, Latvian hockey federation members, and even a former prime minister of Latvia.

A couple of takeaways:

  • Unlike Alaska, there are buildings dating back to the 1500s, specifically in the "Old Town" of Riga, defined by the city's walls during Swedish, German, and Russian rule.

  • The city has a history of large (for Alaska standards) apartment buildings with ground-floor retail components. We know it as mixed-use multi-family; however, they call them "profit houses."

  • There is a large concentration and volume of beautiful Art Deco buildings.

  • Like Alaska, Riga, Latvia's capital and largest city, has experienced a population decline in the last five to ten years due in part to working-age Latvians getting educated elsewhere in the EU and a search for greener economic pastures.

  • New industrial and retail construction near the airport is predominantly financed by local Latvian banks for local and EU companies.

  • Riga has Europe's largest market/bazaar. Fish, meat, clothes, fruits, vegetables, and more can be bought and sold in five repurposed zeppelin hangers.

  • And many more!

Ryan said, "All in all, I enjoyed my trip. Riga and the surrounding area are beautiful and safe, with quality infrastructure. I was lucky to meet up with some high school and college friends while I was there!

-Paldies/Спасибо Latvia"

-Jeff O. (Spire Commercial Real Estate - Office Admin)


bottom of page