Minister: Government to decide fate of former ERM building in fall

Former ERM exhibition house in Tartu.
Former ERM exhibition house in Tartu. Source: ERR

The government is to rule on what will happen to the former Estonian National Museum (ERM) in Tartu.

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) said he will approach the cabinet in September on what to do with the building, on Kuperjanov, west of the city center, at the same time as state budget strategy is under discussion.

The ERM moved to its present location at Raadi, on the outskirts of Estonia's second city, in 2018

The two options on the table is either the state real estate body, Riigi Kinnisvara AS (RKAS) fully sells it to the City of Tartu, which currently operates the building, or puts it up for auction.

An earlier auction in 2017 was scotched by one of Aab's predecessors, Mihhail Korb (Center). Private firm Sakala had bid €610,000 for the building, but it was transferred to the city for half a million.

Jaak Aab told ERR Monday that the city of Tartu says they wish to retain the building, most likely as a day care center for retired people, or possibly for a cultural organization.

Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform) says that the preliminary work for the latter purpose has already been carried out.

"Our interest is in continuing to use this building for cultural societies in Tartu," Klaas said.

Aab said that if the transfer to Tartu was found not sufficiently justified, the building would be put back up for auction.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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