Plans include converting Linnhall’s former ice rink into 12 multifunctional meeting rooms, the largest of which will have a capacity of 2,500. There will also be a 3,500-seat concert hall and a 500-seat black box theatre, along with a string of shops and restaurants on the sea-facing edge of the building. Renovation is due to begin next year with 2019 set as the target for completion.

“The Estonian meetings industry wholeheartedly welcomes Tallinn’s decision to make use of the Linnahall in this way,” said Estonian Convention Bureau Managing Director Kadri Karu. “We are constantly receiving requests for conference spaces of this scale and this new option will allow us to host significantly more large international events.”

“For a lot of conference organisers, who are already impressed by Tallinn’s high-quality hotels and easily walkable city centre, a 2,500-person venue will be the final puzzle piece that cinches the deal,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Taavi Aas said that the project to breathe new life back into the long-neglected complex would cost between 80 and 100 million euros, with the city and state budgets each supplying roughly half the sum.

Designed by architects Raine Karp and Riine Altmäe, the 37,000-square metre Linnahall was one of many grandiose construction projects undertaken to coincide with Tallinn’s hosting the sailing events of the Moscow Olympic Games. Originally used as an entertainment centre, it has largely fallen into disrepair since the end of Soviet rule. Part of the structure functions as a heliport and harbour for Tallinn-Helsinki ferries, while the rest is simply a curiosity for tourists interested in distinctively Soviet-looking monumentalist architecture.

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