The story of Omnium Properties begins with one of Latvia's most prolific real estate developers, Kristaps Bergs.
Around 1860, when Kristaps Kalniņš (1843-1907) was sixteen years old, he left his home in Bērzmuižas parish in the southern Zemgale region of Latvia and came to Riga to seek his fortune. Although Riga was a part of the Russian Empire at the time, the city’s social and business circles were still run by the Baltic-German elite. To better fit into this society, Kristaps Kalniņš Germanized his name to Christoph Berg (kalniņš, which means hill in Latvian, was upgraded to Berg or mountain in German). Having worked for several years in pubs and in construction, around 1887 Kristaps Bergs amassed enough experience and capital to finally purchase land and begin the construction of one of his most well-known properties, the Bergs Bazaar. During his lifetime
Bergs was an active member of the board for the Riga Latvian Society House, as well as a supporter of the arts and culture – attributes that inspired the young author Augusts Deglavs to use Kristaps Bergs as a prototype for his character Pēteris Krauklītis in the historical novel “Rīga”.
Kristaps Bergs was one of the very first Latvian businessmen and urban developers. He actively participated in processes that encouraged the revival of Latvian culture and the raising of national self-awareness after centuries of cultural suppression.
After WWII, all private property in Latvia was nationalized, including the Bergs Bazaar. Although the Bergs Bazaar was inhabited during the Soviet era, it was misused and neglected as well as other properties in Latvia.
After Latvia regained its independence in 1991, the now run-down and badly deteriorated Bergs Bazaar was returned to the heirs of Kristaps Bergs and, in 1992, they began the incremental restoration and revitalization of the quarter. Renowned local architect, Zaiga Gaile, authored the original restoration concept, artfully fusing contemporary elements with the historical.
Today, Kristaps Bergs’ great-grandson and two great-great-grandsons continue to develop his vision of creating a vibrant city within a city.