Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab said neither he, nor Riigi Kinnisvara AS (RKAS), can yet share the details of who the interested parties are for Tallinn's Patarei Sea Fortress, or its sale, as the process is not yet completed.
"Unfortunately, nothing can be disclosed because it is a public procurement. It could affect the sales process and I cannot speak about it," Aab told ERR on Wednesday.
The deadline for submitting bids for the purchase of Patarei is Nov. 12. "It is possible that tenders will be made at the last minute. As far as I can tell, the interest is well known. Unfortunately, it cannot be made more specific," said Jaak Aab.
RKAS put the fortress up for sale at a public auction with a starting price of EUR 4.5 million this spring. Aab admitted that this was a complex object and the buyer had to consider it.
"There are a number of preconditions for heritage conservation. If a developer wants to operate there, there are a number of preconditions. The plot of land can also be redeveloped, but conditions stipulate that the maritime security component must first be addressed," he said.
The conditions stipulate that the project must be prepared within a year-and-a-half and be completed within six years. If the developer fails to do so, the state will have the right to buy back the maritime security for EUR 450,000, without having to reimburse the buyer for investments which have been made.
The sea fortress is subject to two detailed plans in the Patarei and Seaplane area. The rights and obligations arising from the detailed plans are transferred to the future owner of the properties. The total number of buildings on the plots can be 11, the purpose of the properties is residential, commercial, and social.
An international research center and a memorial museum will be built in the eastern part of the former prison building as part of the renovation of the naval fortress. The premises must be completed by the buyer. The exhibition is organized and the museum is coordinated by the Estonian Memory Institute, which operates under a lease agreement in Patarei.
The Paterei complex was founded in 1840 as part of the defence system of Saint Petersburg, the capital of Russia between 1710 and 1918, when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire.
When the independent Republic of Estonia that was established in 1918 it started to use the barracks as the national central prison in 1920, and it was used in that capacity until 1940 when Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union.
Patarei was also used as a prison after the restoration of Estonia's independence (1991) until 2002. The entire Patarei complex is a building monument under the protection of national heritage.
Editor: Helen Wright