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Hippodrome business quarter construction could begin next year

Hippodrome business quarter illustration.
Hippodrome business quarter illustration. Source: EKE

The 15 years in the planning Hippodrome (Hipodroomi) business quarter in Tallinn should secure a building permit next year, with construction work estimated to take 2-3 years.

Securing the building permits has been a lot of work, while hope remains that we can launch construction next year, said Karl Ader, head of new developments for developer EKE AS.

The project's website describes the quarter as a "grand business and residential real estate development." A total of 350,000 square meters of business and residential space will be constructed, with four office buildings planned in the area. The anchor tenants will be Swedbank and Elisa, with supermarket chain Rimi to move in to the commercial block. One of the planned buildings is styled to become Estonia's largest office building.

However, Karl Ader said that the development will have three office buildings. "The anchor tenants are the same. The detailed plan reserves generous space for apartment developments, with construction set to start and hopefully be concluded at the same time as the business quarter," he said.

Tallinn finalizes infrastructure rules

The Hipodroomi development was stuck for a long time due to differences between landowner Alfa Property and Tallinn's Public Works Department. The area of the former hippodrome lacks water supply and the city wanted the developer to construct a rainwater removal system complete with a pump house that would cost an estimated €12 million.

This week, the city government passed regulation to fix how many streets, parks or sewage systems developers have to build.

"This manages risks of an agreement that would be harmful for the city or the developer. It makes sure developers are treated fairly and transparently, and – crucially – allows developers to forecast their public infrastructure contribution well in advance," Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet said.

He said that the regulation includes a formula for calculating how much the developer must contribute based on the purpose of the plot.

"The formula developers will most often come across in their dealings with the city is €20 per gross square meter plus the construction price index," the deputy mayor said.

Member of the board of Alfa Property Jaanus Mikk told ERR that the city's proposal is sensible. "It makes sense for the city to construct the infrastructure and then everyone pays a fair fee for using it," he offered.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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