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Viru Center, inauguration ceremony, 7 May 2004

Friday, May 7, 2004 - 02:00

Centre of fashion, entertainment, restaurants and transport to be opened in Tallinn

The inauguration ceremony of the Viru Center, the large construction project of the Finnish SRV Group, is taking place on May 7. The Chairman of the Finnish Parliament Mr. Paavo Lipponen and the Chairman of the Estonian Parliament Mrs. Ene Ergma will attend the ceremony as guests of honor. The Mayor of Tallinn, Mr. Edgar Savisaar, will present the welcoming salutation of the City of Tallinn. Chairman of the Board of Directors of the owner and project management company SRV Group Plc, Mr. Ilpo Kokkila, will give a celebratory speech.

The new Viru Center comprises a large-scale shopping and entertainment center, several restaurants, apartments for living, offices, an underground bus terminal and parking area. In addition, the extended and renovated Sokos Hotel Viru is a part of the Viru Center. The total floor area of retail space in Viru Center is 32,000 square meters.

The Finnish restaurant company SK Ravintolat led by Mr. Sedu Koskinen is opening their new restaurant R.I.F.F. in Viru Center on the same day, Friday 7 May. The restaurant R.I.F.F. includes an international-style combination of a relaxed bar, an Italian restaurant, and a smart night club. The highlight of this restaurant is Tallinn's largest outdoor terrace with sunshine all day.
R.I.F.F. will be open daily at 11:00 AM.

In addition, Friday 7 May will be the opening date of the new underground bus terminal.

Almost 30,000 customers visit the shopping center every day

The shopping center opened its doors to the public in Mid-April. The average daily count of visitors has been nearly 30,000. By the end of the summer season, after all the retail outlets of the center have been opened, the target number of customers will remain at 30,000 per day, or 11 million per year. Tallinn hosts 2.5 million Finnish tourists every year, and many of them will visit Viru Center and stay at Sokos Hotel Viru.

The Tallinna Kaubamaja department store rents the major part of the retail space in Viru Center. The covered pedestrian bridge, the Glass Gallery, connects the old and the new Kaubamaja with one another. All of the retail premises have been rented out, but some of the tenants will open in summer. Several international brands are represented in Viru Center, such as Body Shop, specializing in environmentally friendly cosmetic products, Mango, selling fashion clothes from Spain, the French Jennyfer, and the Italian Terranova, and furthermore, Diesel, Re-Reserved, Esprit and Naomi, mostly intended for the younger customers. The Sergio Tacchini store sells top fashions for men. Bastion, Monton and Klementi are stores that offer creations from Estonian designers.

Viru Center has 13 different restaurants and cafés; this means that the total number of restaurant seats reaches 2,000 not counting the restaurants within the Sokos Hotel Viru. The restaurant area called Lunchbox consists of five separate sections, serving lunch menus of Italian, Chinese, Turkish, and Belgian styles.

The expert designers of the shopping center were Mr. Tommi Tuominen, architect SAFA, from Evata Oy, Finland, and the Spanish architect Antonio de la Peña Sabatés.

Intersection of the old and the contemporary Tallinn

Viru Center is located in central Tallinn, near the Gates of the Old Town, a walking distance from the port. Next to Viru Center you will find the Estonian National Opera House, the Tallinna Kaubamaja department store, the new Tallink hotel to be opened later this year, the Main Post Office and the Coca-Cola Plaza movie theatre. The Viru Square has been a well-known marketplace for centuries. In the 19th century, the square was the Russian Market, where Russian farmers and gardeners offered their produce for sale. Plans were made after the Second World War to convert the square into a central crossroads of Tallinn, where the main highways to all directions would intersect. The architects Künnapu & Padrik, who were now in charge of the planning, have effectively created a new downtown area for Tallinn at this point.

Viru Center is currently one of the largest foreign investments in Estonia. The Viru Center is developed by the Finnish SRV International Ltd, which belongs to the SRV Group. One of the well-known large-scale projects of SRV is Kamppi construction project in Helsinki. The land area of Viru Center extends itself over 12,600 square meters. Actual building volume is 85,000 sq. m.

More than three million tourists visit Estonia every year, and 65 per cent, or 1.95 million, of them are Finns. Consequently, the Finns will be the largest foreign customer group in Viru Center. Approximately 80 per cent of the guests at Sokos Hotel Viru are Finns.

Result of long development history

The SRV Group started developing the Viru Center project as early as 1994, after SRV had purchase the Viru Hotel from the city of Tallinn. The city arranged an architectural competition in 2000 to receive proposals for the development of the plot adjacent to the Viru Hotel. All major developers of real estate in Tallinn participated in the competition. As a result of the competition, SRV Group and the Estonian Merko construction firm bought the plot from the city in 2001.

Tallinns city officials required that certain objectives should be taken into account: The new construction would have to include a functional bus terminal, and well organized traffic arrangements at the area. A further objective was to build such shopping center in the downtown of Tallinn that is remarkable in Estonias scale; parking facilities for the customers, and an extension of the Viru hotel to respond to the increasing demand for hotel services.

Construction works were started in June 2002. The Viru Center project has been a technically demanding project in the heart of the city of Tallinn. The soil mostly consists of sand, thus the foundation works required to use almost 30 meters long cast-in-situ bored piles. The facade materials are a combination of white concrete and glass. In spite of the technical challenges, the construction work was successful and the object is on schedule.

The subsidiary of SRV International Ltd, the company SRV Ehituse AS was in charge of the project management. The main contractor was the Estonian AS Merko Ehitus. The architects were Künnapu & Padrik. Finnish on-site project management consisted of 4 to 5 persons. The project relied on Estonian work force entirely. On behalf of SRV, the manager of the project was Mr. Tuomo Vaara. The Viru Center property now belongs to Pontos Ltd, an associate of SRV Group Plc.

Form more information, please contact:

Mr. Risto Hiekka, Managing Director, SRV International Ltd,
phone: +358 400 493 688

Mr. Yrjö Vanhanen, Managing Director, Pontos Ltd,
phone: + 372 50 99191.