Government Pledges to Support New Academy of Arts Building, Questions Remain ({{commentsTotal}})

Demolishion of the old building, in 2010
Demolishion of the old building, in 2010 Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Cabinet decided on Monday to finance the construction of a new Academy of Arts building in Tallinn, but questions about EU support, the time frame for construction and the final location of the building are still unanswered.

Education Minister Jaak Aaviksoo told ERR Radio on Wednesday that the academy itself must find a location and set a time frame.

Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi, who broke the news on the decision to fund the project, said construction costs could come from selling real estate belonging to the state, while Aaviksoo expressed hope that EU funds could help ease the burden of the estimated 25 to 30 million euro cost.

In January of last year, the Archimedes Foundation withdrew its pledge to support the construction with 12 million euros of EU Structural Fund money, citing doubts that the project would be completed by August 2015, the deadline for using the funds.

A long road

The old building, located Tartu maantee 1, next to the Viru Center shopping complex, was demolished in 2010, and the city issued a building permit for the new building in February 2012.

Problems began to arise when a resident of a neighboring building took the city to court, saying that the new building, if completed, would block sunlight to her home.

The Supreme Court, the nation's highest court level, rejected an appeal by the neighbor in April of this year, giving construction a green light, but by then funding had been withdrawn.

The Academy of Arts turns 100 next year. The building's opening was planned as part of the celebrations.