State puts former national museum building in Tartu back on auction

The former ERM building on Kuperjanovi 9, in Tartu.
The former ERM building on Kuperjanovi 9, in Tartu. Source: RKAS

The state is selling a building which formerly housed exhibits belonging to the Estonian National Museum (ERM), via auction, ending several years' stalemate involving the state, the City of Tartu, and the private sector.

The state real estate agency, the RKAS, has put up the building, located on Julius Kuperjanovi tänav, for public auction, with a starting price of €730,000.

The development ends nearly six years of impasse, after the RKAS' board proposed either auctioning the building, or returning it to the state.

While an auction was initially opened, this was subsequently canceled, even as a winning bid had been declared.

ERR reported in summer 2020 that still no progress had been made, adding that it would be sold to the City of Tartu, or alternatively to the University of Tartu fraternity korp! Sakala, which won the 2017 auction, or another public auction would be held.

Ultimately this third option has materialize.

While korp! Sakala, which bid €610,000 for the building, planned to lease it to Tartu City Government on a long-term basis, enabling the city's social and cultural institutions to work there, the RKAS cancelled the auction, after the City of Tarty itself stated it was in the public interest if it took ownership.

Tartu authorities had appealed to then-Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb (Center).

The next stage saw the state transfer the building to Tartu City Government with a price-tag of €500,001, but this was adjudged by then-head of the RKAS, Urmas Somelar, as being too low, given it was over €100,000 lower than the abortive auction price.

The building (see cover image), located on Julius Kuperjanovi 9, was built in 1964 and originally intended as a local railwaymen's club. The ERM had been working there since 1993.

The current ERM facility was opened in 2016, in Raadi, on the outskirts of Estonia's second city.

The RKAS auction details (in Estonian) are here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi

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