Former EKA site developer still awaits City of Tallinn construction permit

Artist's impression of the planned Estonde Invest development.
Artist's impression of the planned Estonde Invest development. Source: Alver Arhitektid

The developer of a planned high-rise building to occupy a former Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) site in central Tallinn is still waiting for a construction permit from the City of Tallinn, several years after the project began.

Located on the corner of Tartu mnt 1 and Laikmaa 11, the currently open area was originally earmarked to host EKA, until it relocated from its previous address on Estonia pst., to its current site in a former sock factory in the Kalamaja district of town.

Progress since then has been slow.

Angel Andla, board member, Estconde Invest OÜ, the developer behind the project, said the City of Tallinn has made technical comments on, for instance, landscaping. 

"We are currently waiting for the building permit, when it arrives, we will start building," Andla told ERR Thursday.

The situation is also complicated by the fact that, since spring, much of central Tallinn has basically been torn up, so far as main thoroughfares, infrastructure and landscaping go.

The former EKA building's construction activities will not require the re-excavation of Gonsiori, one of the streets in question – which had only been resurfaced a few years ago – however, Andla said.

"However, Utilitas is to install a cooling system ... along Laikmaa street," Andla went on – making yet more roadworks a fait accompli.

Cooling systems are just that, the summer corollary to the more familiar district heating network which pumps hot water to major buildings during the winter months; such work is already being undertaken at nearby Liivalaia.

The new building at Tartu mnt 1/Laikmaa 11 is due to be completed in 2026, as things stand.

Opposition from neighboring property owners, residents and businesses has also been behind the delays – in fact EKA had originally wanted to remain at the location, ultimately selling the property to developers City Plaza for €6.9 million, and relocating to Kalamaja as noted.

Andla said at the start of this year that construction was planned to start immediately the construction permit was issued, expected to be by this summer, but this has not materialized.

The planned development, dubbed City Plaza 2, would be 28 floors high once built, boasting 21,000 square meters of office and commercial space, in addition to what is billed as Estonia's largest indoor cycle parking lot and surrounding landscaping.

Estconde Invest also owns the adjacent, pre-existing City Plaza commercial building.

Tallinn City Council established a detailed plan for the construction back in January; this plan and the strategic assessment of the environmental impact had been initiated by order of Tallinn City Government back in March 2017.

A year earlier, City Plaza OÜ had requested that process to start; the ensuing agreement was signed between Tallinn City Planning Authority, Peep Moorasti, City Plaza and Estconde Invest.

Alver Arhitektid was the company tasked with architectural aspects of the project.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mari Peegel

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