Tartu City Government is currently processing an application for a construction permit to enable work to begin on a commercial apartment building at 11/13 Lossi tänav in the center of Tartu.
The plot in question is located between the Heino Eller School of Music and the University of Tartu College of Foreign Languages and Cultures. According to city architect Tõnis Arjus, the site could be suitable in future for two buildings containing apartments and perhaps a café.
"At the moment, the courtyard building, which will eventually run parallel to the extension of the Heino Eller Music School, is primarily being planned so that it has a predominantly residential function," said Arjus, adding that smaller apartments will be planned for the site, with the primary aim of providing accommodation for students in Tartu's Old Town. There will also be one smaller commercial space on the ground floor.
"(Considering) the capacity of the building planned for Lossi tänav, it is important that it is designed to have a public-oriented function, perhaps with a café or something else on the ground floor," said Arjus. "So, the building is designed a little bit differently to incorporate these other functions," he added.
The two buildings are being designed in parallel, however, the process is currently more advanced when it comes to the larger, courtyard-side building, which may be up to five stories high.
According to Arjus, the detailed plan shows, that as the building will be on a rather steep hillside, its height will gradually decrease in line with neighboring houses. This means, the proposed building will be lower than the extension to the Eller School, but higher than the building at 9 Lossi tänav.
As it is located in a prominent central area of Tartu, the developers were required to hold a design competition amongst architects, who presented their visions for the site. The winning design was produced by KUU Architects. The central location also means the planned buildings are subject to special conditions in order to comply with heritage protection rules. For example, wooden windows and doors are permitted and the buildings should preferably have pitched roofs.
"On the side of the main building of the university and on Lossi tänav there is more space, but there is less room on the other side of Lossi tänav. On the Lossi tänav side, you can only fit a very narrow building facing the street," said Egle Tamm, chief heritage protection officer of the Tartu City Government.
Arjus added that the location in the Old Town area, means there is no requirement to provide parking spaces for the new buildings.
"As this is primarily aimed at students, there is no explicit provision for parking spaces, however, of course, access to the buildings there must be guaranteed. This is necessary for visitors, transport services and also for the emergency services," said Arjus.
Alo Arumäe of Lossi 11 OÜ, the company developing the plot, also confirmed that no parking spaces would be built on the property. The parking spaces along Lossi tänav will remain on city-owned land, where future residents will be able to leave their vehicles if they have the required parking permit. Traffic on Lossi tänav currently follows a one-way system, with Andres Pool, deputy head of the city's Department of Economic Affairs, saying that there are no plans for this to change.
According to Arumäe, construction of the five-story building could start as soon as this year, if the plans receive positive feedback, meaning the first building could be completed by early 2024.
"The application process for the construction permit on this building may be more or less at an end, the municipality has given its approval, as have the emergency services and at the moment the neighboring residents are going through the approval process (too). The application for a construction permit for the second building should also happen fairly soon," Arumäe said.
Editor: Michael Cole