Kawe Plaza sets the pace for others

  • 1998-11-05
  • Urmas Maranik
TALLINN - Tallinn's most prestigious business centre opened its doors on Friday, Oct. 30. The curved building reflects Freedom Square, in the very heart of Tallinn, off its glass wall.

The construction of the seven-story building started in 1997, a year after one of the most expensive land lots at the side of the Freedom Square was privatized.

The Kawe Plaza got its name from the owner of the Kawe Investment company Karl Wellner, whose ancestors in Estonia owned Kawe factories, which were established in 1918, today known under the name of Kalev.

"The idea came about two years ago in cooperation with Plaza's architect Henno Sillaste," said Wellner. In 1996, demand for office spaces in Tallinn exceeded supply.

According to Sillaste, the glass facade of the Plaza was brought from Canada, where glass works are at the highest quality level. "Similar facades are used in the glass towers of Singapore and Hong Kong," Sillaste, who lives in Toronto, explained.

"The design of the building had certain preconditions such as using the maximum space of the lot, therefore it's curved, and being in harmony with the rest of the buildings on Tallinn's central square," said the architect.

The Plaza, which cost 90 million kroons ($7 million) to construct, is owned by Kawe Group Ltd., Henno Sillaste, the Estonian Compensation Fund and two other individuals.

The two-story garage under the building, which has room for 34 cars, increased the cost of the building, because parking space in the very center of Tallinn is tight.

Despite the overheated real estate market in Tallinn, which has left numerous brand new office buildings standing virtually empty, Kawe Plaza has filled more than 90 percent of its floor space already, even before the official opening.

The prestigious building has attracted companies like Hansapank, Scan-Shipping, Postimees Group, Hansa Investments and others to establish their offices in Kawe Plaza.