Estonia to construct the biggest arena in the Baltics

  • 1999-08-12
  • By Kairi Kurm
TALLINN - A Finnish construction company together with the city of Tallinn, the Estonian Basketball Association and the Estonian Olympic Committee are planning to build a large culture and sports arena in Rocca al Mare. Construction will begin as soon as full financing for the 175 million kroon ($11.97 million) project is available.

25 million kroons have to be raised from the sale of seats to guarantee the 75 million loan from Nordic Investment Bank. The seats are sold as shares to companies and private persons.

The hall, which can accommodate 6,000 people during sports events and 10,000 people for entertainment events, is the biggest of its kind in the Baltics, said Riho Remmel, the manager of the arena project. The arena, which is 40 meters wide and 80 meters long, can be divided into three smaller sports grounds; the building accommodates smaller gym rooms.

The construction period of the arena will last for 12 months and will probably start in September this year. The starting date will be decided in August.

The project would pay for itself if at least 85 events are held a year. The profitability rate of the project, according to the preliminary calculations, should be about 15 percent a year, which means that the payback period should be about 7 years, said Remmel.

According to the business plan the company should receive 2.5 million kroon profit on a 33.5 million kroon turnover.

The company's biggest shareholder is a subsidiary of Lemminkainen, the building contractor working on the project, with a 40 percent share. Other shareholders are the city of Tallinn (20 percent), the government (20 percent), basketball association (10 percent), Estonian sports association (5 percent) and Estonian Olympic Committee (5 percent). Ownership will widen with the sale of seats.

The arena will be named "Saku Suurhall" after Saku, which has been the biggest Estonian brewery for 10 years. The new site is neighboring the Rocca al Mare trade center, which is probably one of the biggest shopping centers in the Baltics.