Shopping malls in Tartu city center are extending upward, with Tartu Kaubamaja planning a terrace on its roof, and Kvartal Center two extra floors. Neither of these is looking at additional retail space, however, but instead aim at more space for different services.
Tartu's newest mall, Kvartal, opened its doors in 2016. Tarmo Punger, Head of the Tartu Consumer Cooperative, owner of Kvartal Center, told ERR back then that while the building was only a project, it was clear that a higher building than the current five-story one would be suitable for the area.
"Today, the Kvartal building is lower than the Hansa Center on one side and Tasku Center on the other side. But since the economic environment at that time was favorable, it was reasonable to start under the existing agreement, which is why Kvartal is a little bit lower, but larger," Punger explained.
Last year, Tartu City Government initiated a detailed plan to see how would two extra floors in the center work. The current center stands out with its different facade materials, which makes the building seem structured looking from the street. Punger said that the two extra floors will be different than the rest.
"It hasn't been solved with extending the external finishing but rather with adding a luminous room to the already existing size, which is quite transparent with wooden frame and simpler solutions," Punger explained.
He added they are not planning to add any retail spaces.
"Office and service premises are located on the perimeter of the building and inside the building, in the middle, there is a commerce area. Because the potential extension only affects the named perimeter, then in the future, it will only have to do with extending the service areas or the bureau areas, which there are a lot of. It is a little too early to predict," he said.
Tartu Mall, across the road of Kvartal, got their extra floor in the detailed plan already in 2016. Last autumn, the company also presented a sketch of the upcoming development. Piret Kull, the marketing manager of the department store, said that an important part of the extension could be a terrace open to city residents.
"We have agreed that the direct profit will be smaller than in other areas. But we are contributing to people coming to spend their time here so that the terrace would become an important place where people would want to pass through and take a look at the city. The main parts of it are catering and entertainment," Kull explained.
She added that during this year, Kaubamaja plans to decide what exactly and to who to build it. When exactly are the guests expected, Kull can't promise yet.
"The work toward it will last for three-four years," she said.
The developer of the Kvartal Center is not in a hurry either. Tarmo Punger said that no one will see great economic success in the near future, and that is why the Kvartal Plan was initiated rather looking to the future.
Editor: Roberta Vaino