Tartu municipality mayor Jarno Laur told ERR that the three private real estate plots behind the Estonian National Museum (ERM) should be exchanged for state land.
The architectural solution of the national museum and the former airfield, where it has been build, demands space around the building, according to architects. On option to maintain space is to offer state land in exchange of the plots surrounding the ERM area.
Tartu municipality government wants to bring more life to Raadi, where the museum and the airfield are located. This has led developers to design and construct new residential and office buildings near the old airfield. The Estonian Association of Architects has stated that some developments have been built too close to the museum and airfield.
Tartu municipality mayor Jarno Laur said that it became clear at a public forum last week, that some plots should be ruled out in terms of developments. "Erminurme tee 28, where detail plans are currently being processed - a proposal should be made for the developer and the state to exchange lands," Laur said, adding that the plot currently designated for development should be left empty.
The municipality mayor said a similar proposal should be made to the owners of the ERMi tänav 15 and 17 plots. This could be made more complicated by the already presented detail plan, however.
Former culture minister Tõnis Lukas said the idea is not a new one. "The week of the announcement that the government would resign (on January 13 - ed), I had arranged for a meeting with the prime minister (Jüri Ratas), the national museum director, the Minister of the Environment and the public administration minister to discuss a possible land exchange," Lukas said.
The meeting was canceled due to a change in government and representatives of the Ministry of Culture did not tell ERR on Thursday what current culture minister Anneli Ott thinks of the possible exchange. All they said was that there is nothing new to add, ERR's Estonian portal reported.
Architect Margit Aule, who participated in the public forum, said these conflicts only happen if decision-makers do not handle their issues at the right time. That time is now for the three plots in question, Aule noted.
"The airfield is especially valuable, not only because of ERM. Its value is not only in ERM, but the caponiers at the airfield, the places where planes were parked," she said. "There are no caponiers at the second airfield near it, it is not as strong an element in terms of space. The buildings we are talking about are right next to the high-value space and will begin to affect it."
The exchange of lands must be approved by environment minister Tõnis Mölder and private developers. The Erminurme tee 28 plot belongs to Reterra Estate and Pro Kinnisvara is in the process of acquiring both ERMi tänav 15 an 17. The real estate companies did not wish to comment on the potential exchange.
The environment ministry told ERR that until there is an official application, they will not process anything. Jarno Laur confirmed that the Tartu municipality government will make an official application within the next month.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste