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Tallinn adopts development plan, Pirita Beach updates to begin this summer

Render of planned updates to Pirita Beach, with the Tallinn skyline visible in the background.
Render of planned updates to Pirita Beach, with the Tallinn skyline visible in the background. Source: Pirita city district government

Four and a half years after first being approved, Tallinn city government on Wednesday adopted the development plan for the Pirita Beach area that will include a new boardwalk, amphitheaters and pavilions.

The detailed plan designated building rights for the construction of 20 little beach pavilions, a temporary amphitheater – or open-air stage – and stands, beach service facilities as well as a beachfront promenade. The plan will also allow for the expansion of the Pirita Leisure Center building, as well as the construction of a new, maximum two-story hotel and cafe on the property located at Merivälja tee 5b, currently occupied by a closed-down bar and grill.

Nothing major is going to be built on the Estonian capital's flagship beach, and the most important thing is going to be the beachfront promenade, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Madle Lippus (SDE) told ERR.

"The point of the plan is to tidy up this area, and it doesn't anticipate very large construction volumes," Lippus explained. "The point above all is to design a boardwalk promenade there that would allow people to comfortably walk in the woods along the coastline."

The boardwalk is planned to wind through the Pirita Beach area, including an outdoor gym, playgrounds and ball courts, and past a temporary amphitheater and stands. Various kiosks and pavilions will be positioned where paths leading to the beach intersect with the boardwalk.

An architectural competition for the area had been held in 2012 already, won by Arhitektuurinurk OÜ's "Väät." According to Lippus, the goal was to choose the lightest and airiest solution possible.

Tallinn city government thereafter approved the detailed plan for the site in June 2020 already, meaning it took four and a half years to move from approving to adopting it. The deputy mayor maintained that such excessive delays in processing are uncharacteristic.

"That isn't very typical, but there were also lengthier discussions with local residents and associations involved here in order to find common ground," Lippus said.

"There was a question about intersecting paths coming from Merivälja tee toward the promenade or beach," she recalled. "In the end, what was important was planning these paths so that you can see the sea as you walk along them."

According to the detailed plan, no trees will be taken down in connection with the project. The city official added that even the pavilions, for example, have been designed so that the trees already there tie in with what's to be built.

Plans don't include pavilion building, parking

The existing Pirita Beach Pavilion is privately owned and is not covered by the recently adopted plan, however, according to Lippus, there are still things that need doing in connection with it. According to its plan, the pavilion building is designated as a commercial property, however it's also allegedly the site of living quarters as well.

"That's a complex matter entirely of its own," she acknowledged.

The large parking lot located between the pavilion building and Pirita tee will at least initially remain as is for the time being, as the detailed plan for the beach area doesn't address parking. There are, however, plans to build bike storage.

Set to be built in the beach area are a couple dozen little beach pavilions, which according to the city official will be light-frame wooden constructions. A separate construction project will be drawn up for the pavilions as well.

Plans also call for kiosks, toilet facilities, showers, a rental and storage building and possibly even a clubhouse for winter swimmers.

Pirita Beach in May. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Replacing the old Pirita Grillbaar – known colloquially as the "chicken coop" – at Merivälja tee 5b will be a hotel and cafe with a maximum building height of 9 meters.

"That is likewise privately owned, and as it's a rather booth-type solution that construction-wise likely dates back to several decades ago, then that property will continue to remain in private hands, however it has been granted building rights for planning a presentable building," Lippus said. "But it would remain the same in terms of function – primarily providing food and drink and perhaps accommodations as well, if they see merit to that there."

But that's already a matter for the business plan stage. "Surely the private owner will consult with their Excel spreadsheet to see whether it would suit them as such," she added.

Render of the new hotel-cafe planned for the property at Merivälja tee 5b, replacing the old Pirita Grillkohvik. Architect: Anne Kose. Source: Tallinn city government

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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