State investing more in real estate than predicted, at €83 million
The coalition government announced its national real estate investment strategy Thursday, with approximately €83 million being spent in that sphere starting next year. Previous forecast had put the figure lower than this, in the €60-70 million range. Significant investment objects include the Academy of Arts (EKA), the National Library, and the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA).
As reported on ERR News, the coalition came to an agreement Monday evening, and was scheduled to announce the strategy in full at the regular Thursday morning cabinet meeting.
"Investments for the next few years will be directed toward the construction of three larger individual objects, added to which will be investments in state buildings in county centers and several other buildings to be built or reconstructed by state real estate body Riigi Kinnisvara (RKAS)," Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Centre) said in a press release, BNS reports.
The figure of €83 million is somewhat higher than Aab had quoted Monday, when he mentioned figures of €60-70 million, in line with previous years. Aab also said at the time that smaller objects had already been decided on, with only the bigger projects spending plans still to be finalized.
"When investing in real estate, we will take into account that the buildings need to be energy-efficient, with optimal spatial solutions and management costs," Aab added.
The EKA is set to receive €43 million over the period 2020-2022, and the National Library and National Archives will be supported to the tune of €53 million, albeit over a longer timeframe, 2020-2027.
"The National Library has a specific role in the preservation of the cultural memory of Estonia," culture minister Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said.
"In addition to this, the library must go on developing itself as an open cultural center, which the large-scale investment will enable, among other things," Lukas added. Construction of the National Library building itself, somewhat of an iconic piece of architecture on Tõnismägi in central Tallinn, spanned both Soviet era and the beginnings of Estonian independence. Work was started in 1985, and completed in 1993 by which time Estonia was an independent country. Critics have said the library complex has been in need of renovation for many years.
An additional €10 million has been earmarked for installations and technology upgrades at the library.
The national archives are situated at various locations round the country, including Madara Street in Tallinn, and in Valga, Tartu and Rakvere.
Construction of the National Library started in 1985, and the building was completed in 1993.
Investments into the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) facilities will total €44 million, 2020-2024, though this is also subject to coordination between RKAS and the interior ministry, BNS reports.
Earlier, smaller investment decisions made in spring included money for the Kääriku sports complex (€2.6 million) and the PPA/Recue Board (Päästeamet) building in Pärnu (€25 million).
Finally, public broadcaster ERR is to receive €22 million for the construction of a new TV building.
In total, the state owns approximately two million square meters of buildings either directly or through RKAS.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte