Nokia Estonia Opening A TV Spectacular

The opening of a new central Tallinn shopping mall and the 2,200-capacity, Nokia-branded concert venue that occupies four of its floors was a marketing triumph, including two hours of live coverage on Estonian national TV.

The new five-story Solaris building, which is on the site of the city’s old communist congress hall, was featured throughout the 7 p.m. Friday evening news magazine show Oct. 9.

At 8 p.m. it was followed by a live screening of the hour-long show from the Nokia Concert Hall.

“It was fantastic,” said Peeter Rebane, the major Baltic concert promoter who put the euro 75 million ($112 million) project together.“120,000 people visited Solaris over the first three days, almost three times more than we expected.

“We have been promoting acts here for over 10 years and still Tallinn doesn’t have a 2,000-capacity venue,” the Baltic Development Group chief explained. “In 2003, when it became clear the old building would be pulled down, I made an approach to the minister of culture – which was in charge of it – and put forward some proposals.”

Rebane said he believes his consortium won the tendering process because it was offering something different from the other bids, which were all for multi-story hotels.

The consortium is 25 percent-owned by Rebane and his brother Priit, 25 percent by Estonian investors Ilmar & Tõnis, and 50 percent by Sveafastigheter, the investment wing of Sweden’s Hansabank. Germany’s Aareal Bank financed the debt.

The Solaris has about 1,700 square metres of shopping floor space that includes a major food store and various clothes and lifestyle shops.

There’s also two cinemas, various restaurants and the Nokia-branded concert hall.

It has an 1,800-seat capacity and room for an additional 400 standing. The first contemporary music concert will be Marillion Nov. 8.

The venue will be run by former Tallinn Saku Arena general manager Aivar Sirelpuu, a former board member of the National Arenas’ Association.