The Estonian Cabinet is expected to soon endorse Estonian Public Broadcasting's plan to build a brand new structure for its television services in the courtyard between its Central Tallinn Radio and News Buildings.
The total cost of the building, which may exceed €50 million, would include the cost of installations.
"Early this spring, the supervisory board has examined and endorsed the documents that we will submit to the government for decision-making," Agu Uudelepp, chairman of ERR's supervisory board, told BNS. According to him, the two main arguments in favor of building a new complex in lieu of renovating the existing two television buildings are economic and technological expediency as well as the possibility to better support the work routines of ERR's television stations.
"If we wish to build a good, state-of-the-art television complex, it's quite difficult to do so using the existing television buildings," Uudelepp explained. Commenting on the reconstruction of ERR's News Building, which was formerly the original Radio Building, the chairman said that with that structure, everything was built anew aside from its load-bearing structures.
Bearing in mind that in addition to the reconstruction of studios, one should also be able to fill them with state-of-the-art equipment, it would be better to do so by building a brand new complex, he said.
Noting that there were different estimates regarding the cost of the new building, Uudelepp declined to share any numbers at this point. Asked if the building could cost in excess of €50 million, he said that "such an estimate exists too."
Construction could begin in 2019, completed in 2022
If the Cabinet endorses the initial plan, timelines will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the government and the Riigikogu. The chairman of the supervisory board recalled that there were several real estate investments that the public broadcaster had made recently, including an overhaul of the current Radio Building and the reconstruction of the historical Radio Building, now called the News Building.
"With all these payments and other things, you have to make sure that the financial burden is acceptable both in the broad picture, looking at the principle of fiscal balance which must be observed, as well as ERR's ability to meet its obligations," he said.
Uudelepp declined to offer any estimates regarding how long the construction of the planned new building could take.
"All of ERR effectively comes from the state budget — that budget will come from the state budget as well," he explained, adding that whther or not money for the new structure needed to be borrowed and relevant calculations remained to be discussed.
ERR's current television buildings are situated at Gonsiori 27 and Faehlmanni 10. The new building, however, would be erected in the courtyard of the News Building located at Kreutzwaldi 14. Should the plan receive the government's nod, construction could start as early as 2019 and be completed in 2022.
An analysis conducted by state real estate management company Riigi Kinnisvara AS (RKAS) in 2014 suggested that the price tag for the construction and upkeep of a new building over a 30-year period would be half the cost of the reconstruction and upkeep of the existing buildings.
Editor: Aili Vahtla