Almost 5 Years After Closure, Linnahall's Future 'Bleak' (6)
Like some Nordic version of a Mayan pyramid, one of the premier works of monumental limestone architecture of the late Soviet period, the Linnahall civic center, continues to slowly decay, with no clear development plan in place, a daily has reported.
The complex, which occupies a piece of prime Tallinn waterfront that was otherwise largely closed off during the Soviet period, was to be developed by an American company, Tallinn Entertainment LLC. But negotiations, first announced in 2009, are said to have foundered, Postimees reported in several recent articles.
The director of Linnahall, Tõnu Prööm, told the paper: "The Americans have been in the building several times. It seemed they were interested, but it's complicated. The hardest for them I think is to see any possibility of making money here."
MPs for the Reform Party charge that the city administration promised too much to the Americans. Mayor Edgar Savisaar concedes that nothing is really happening with the project.
There are currently 14 tenants still on the property, and the biggest ones are infrastructure and transport operators. The interior is heated just enough to keep pipes from freezing.
One of the ideas pitched to the American company was that it could be an opera house. Another idea is connected to 2018, the year Estonia has presidency of the EU, when Deputy Mayor Taavi Aas wants to open a conference center in the former ice rink part of the center.
The complex is under heritage protection, but external walls are rapidly crumbling. Developers, if they do take the plunge, would have substantial leeway, and Linnahall could conceivably end up like the Sakala Center, another former monumental limestone complex from the 1980s that is now largely an upscale shopping mall.