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Porto Franco development in Tallinn will be ready in 2023

Porto Franco construction-in-progress as it looked last June.
Porto Franco construction-in-progress as it looked last June. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A controversial real estate development in central Tallinn is on-track for completion in 2023, businessman Rauno Teder, heading up the project, says.

Located close to Tallinn's ferry harbor and intended for office, retail, leisure and residential use, the Porto Franco development hit the headlines in January after it was at the heart of corruption allegations which prompted the resignation of Jüri Ratas (Center) as prime minister, with it bringing down the Center/EKRE/Isamaa coalition.

Many Porto Franco tenants will move in as early as the first quarter of next year, Teder told ERR.

"After that, the building at the other end of the site will be completed, and will primarily host office space, as well as active facade works," Teder told ERR, adding that this building should be completed next year, while the largest building will be finished in 2023, and with it the whole project.

Teder added there was no fear of a lack of tenants, despite the bad press over the government collapse in January – an episode which had brought with it complications.

Financing solutions have been obtained which will allow the work to be finished, in stages, he added, though declined to answer whether one of the prospective tenants is supermarket Prisma.

Some alterations to the concept might be needed, Teder said, with services potentially taking the place of merchandisers: "But it will not be a case where we construct apartments on retail space," he said.

The development had already been the subject of scrutiny last year, when it was the beneficiary of a €39.4 million loan from state credit agency KredEx, despite not apparently generating revenue – as an unfinished project – and therefore not obviously adversely hit by the pandemic, the KredEx loans' raison d'etre in the first place.

Allegations of bribery, an illegal donation of a million euros, and money laundering activities aimed at concealing the activity engulfed the Center Party – which has an absolute majority on Tallinn city government – including its secretary general, Mihhail Korb, after an Internal Security Service (ISS) investigation into the matter was made public, last January. Jüri Ratas resigned within hours of the reports.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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