Gateway to Europe: Entrepreneurs wish to create a massive European square at Ülemiste, in cooperation with the State
The developers of Ülemiste City introduced Prime Minister Jüri Ratas to the concept under which the massive European square would be completed through cooperation of the State and the private sector, around the nexus of public transport that will be established at Ülemiste, which would become the so-called ‘Gateway to Estonia’.
Ülemiste is becoming a region where all important public transport hubs will soon be converging – the Rail Baltica terminal which will become the main railway station; the tramway connecting the airport to the city centre and the passenger port in the future; and the planned new bus station. The European square idea, created by the developers of Ülemiste City, will join these hubs into a unified whole and give a dignified welcome to guests from abroad.
According to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of AS Mainor and the Head of the Ülemiste Shopping Centre Guido Pärnits, the attractive city square connecting the Rail Baltica terminal and the airport in the future will constitute a gateway to Estonia that creates the first impression of the whole country. ‘Pursuant to our vision, the European square would span from Peterburi Street to Tallinn Airport, and would combine the Rail Baltica passenger terminal and the whole Ülemiste region into an attractive whole,’ said Pärnits, introducing the idea at a recent meeting to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas as well.
The importance of the Ülemiste region as an Estonian gateway to Europe should also be marked by dignified high-rises, which together with the passenger terminal and urbanistic park, would create a unified urban space. ‘The Ülemiste Shopping Centre, with its next expansion finishing in the spring of 2019, will also be opening to the European square to be created,’ Pärnits added.
‘For the continued strong development of Ülemiste City, it is crucial to improve the transport connections here, and this can only be done in cooperation with the State,’ continued Chairman of the Management Board of Mainor Ülemiste, Margus Nõlvak, which develops Ülemiste City, saying that 20,000 jobs and residences for 3,000 people are forecast to be in the campus by 2025. ‘This amount of people requires significant contributions to the surrounding environment,’ he added.
According to Nõlvak, in addition to the European square, a possibility should be found for funding other objects directly related to Rail Baltica from the funds of the Connecting Europe Facility, such as constructing the city promenade that connects the Rail Baltica passenger terminal to the city centre, moving the Ülemiste freight terminal out of the city, additional light traffic paths under or over the Rail Baltica railway, construction of the second branch of the J. Smuuli tee overpass, connecting the railroad towards Riisipere-Paldiski to the Rail Baltica infrastructure, etc.
‘I hope that all parties give it their best to make the European square one of the most attractive areas in Tallinn,’ added the Head of Mainor Ülemiste.
In relation to the establishment of Rail Baltica, Ülemiste station will become the main railway station in Tallinn, and with the construction of the planned bus station, become an important public transport hub – a joint terminal. As the first part of the Rail Baltica project, the tramway leading firstly to Ülemiste City, and later to the airport, must be ready for passenger transport by the end of August. This is a complicated structure since the tram will partially be riding in the tunnel built under the railway and Suur-Sõjamäe Street.