At a Tallinn City Council meeting Wednesday, officials discussed proposals to renovate the defunct Patarei Prison, initially a sea fortress built by Nicholas I in 1828.
The city is seeking to revamp the decrepit seaside area and find new uses for it; one idea is to turn part of it into a business center. To make it more functional, officials have proposed to cover the open areas of the complex with a roof, so that they can be used year-round, ETV reported.
The project also includes plans to build residential and commercial buildings on neighboring properties, which residents have resisted, arguing that the area should be preserved for public use.
"[We plan] an open city space, a self-supporting and sustainable project, whose multifunctional use may have something to offer for everyone,” said Timo Aarma, development director of State Real Estate, which is tasked with the renovation project.
Deputy Mayor Arvo Sarapuu said: "We have currently agreed to cover the central part of the structure with a roof so that it is interesting to investors and that investors would emerge as quickly as possible and begin building there. We would like to see that it has both social and business value. If it were only a social project, then we would be left with the question of who would finance it.”
Another official involved in the project, Ants Leemets, said the historical portion of the complex will be preserved, but that the former prison requires a major overhaul. "It can't be left intact in its current form. It requires massive reconstruction. But what cannot be changed is the architectural appearance," said Leemets.