Ticky-Tacky in Tartu? Old Town Residents Criticize Plans for Luxury Hotel ({{commentsTotal}})

Some Tartu residents are upset over what they view as developers putting profits over historical ambience in the city's mostly 18th century Old Town.

A company owned by Neinar Seli, who has transformed much of the riverfront into a modern-looking city center with high-rises, has now turned its attention to a plot near Town Hall Square, at Ülikooli 14, where it plans to build a luxury hotel.

The building will be connected to a historically valuable, protected building and city residents say it will clash with and mar the look of the Old Town.

A petition has been started, and has drawn some prominent names, although the project is probably too far advanced to halt.

Playtech Estonia art director Martti Poom is the initiator of the petition, whose title roughly translates as "Tartu Old Town must remain free of ticky-tacky boxes." One hundred have signed.

Tartu Deputy Mayor Jarno Lauri said the building design was picked at a large international tender by a jury, and lauds the design as sophisticated.

"SIte papers have been drawn up, a competition has been held ,a building permit has been issued. None of these decisions can be contested anymore."

A street poll taken by ERR turned up mostly negative reactions to the hotel, but an attitude of resignation as well.