Tartu to reduce size of planned Downtown Cultural Center
Despite the continued increase in construction prices, plans for the building of the Downtown Cultural Center (SÜKU) in Tartu are moving forward, and the center's room plan is slated to be complete by the beginning of this summer. The overall size of the project, however, is expected to be reduced compared with its original plans.
The cost of construction of the planned cultural center has jumped from €60 million to €97 million already, and it is still unclear what the building's final area will be.
The need for an underground parking garage initially planned as part of the project has also come into question.
"Regarding the room plan, what we can say for sure is that the 21,000 square meters, the first figure with which we submitted an application to the Riigikogu — we want to bring it down below that," SÜKU project manager Elo Kiivet said. "What exactly that will be, however, will become clear in the course of negotiations with other parties."
A concert hall and rental space are among planned parts of the future center, and discussions are currently focused primarily on the size of these spaces. Among possible tenants are an independent movie theater, Estonian Public Broadcasting's (ERR) Tartu studio, cafes and stores.
Also planned is a 230-car underground parking garage below the building. An analysis commissioned by the City of Tartu, however, has called into question whether the planned parking garage is actually necessary.
"The study indicated that a parking garage isn't actually needed there," said Aksel Part, mobility specialist at the Tartu city government. "The study specifically considered parking needs and what parking options are available in the area, within a 500-600 meter radius, and reached the conclusion that there are sufficient available parking spaces downtown and there is no need for separate parking spaces there."
Whether or not a high-traffic building could be built in Tartu without a dedicated parking lot or garage was discussed at a workshop on Monday as well. Kunnar Jürgenson, director of the city's urban resources department, was not so optimistic about the prospect.
"Clearly not a single private sector has built a parking garage in order to ensure parking spaces in the city center; they are interested first and foremost in fitting their clients into the building," Jürgenson said, adding that there is currently no indication that the private sector is prepared to give up its parking spaces ot the City of Tartu in order to ensure parking for the planned Downtown Cultural Center.
SÜKU's final room plan is expected to be complete by the beginning of June, after which the center's architectural competition can be announced.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla