ID cards could replace concert tickets

An ID-card reader
The Baltic Times, TALLINN
By Kairi Kurm
May 10, 2006

Estonian software companies Cooperative and Developers Team have created a unique system that enables one to use an ID card as a concert ticket, as well as pay for refreshments at the concert. If the system takes off, Estonian concert-goers will be able to leave their wallets at home. “The idea of the idpilet.ee project is simple: We save the time and costs of guests and organizers of the events,” said Gunnar Peipman, managing director at Developers Team.

Holders of an ID card can purchase their tickets through the Web site idpilet.ee. As they receive a virtual ticket, they do not have to bother with a paper ticket. The ticket control will check their ID cards with the help of special computer software and will print out a hand band, if necessary, for people to move in and out of the concert area. If a computer fails to read ID cards, organizers an resort to a list of ticket holders’ names from the Web site. People who decide to resell their tickets can easily change the ownership through the Web site. Before a payment can be made, money has to be transferred to the card-holder’s ID card credit account via an online bank.

The Paradise Beach festival is the first event to which people were invited to buy virtual tickets. The sale of tickets surpassed organizers’ expectations. Peipman said that it was difficult to predict the use of virtual tickets of the festival, but the event itself should bring together up to 40,000 guests per day. He is also not quite sure about the use of ID cards as a payment card throughout the whole concert area. “We hope to complete the solution by the time the Paradise Beach festival starts in July. Currently we are quite in time with our schedule. There are areas where ID cards can be used as payment cards, but due to the tight schedule we will not be able to cover the whole area with this solution,” said Peipman. The first event where virtual tickets can actually be used is a dance party at the end of May. Virtual tickets to this event are one-third cheaper than tickets normally sold by Piletilevi and Statoil.

Jaanus Beilmann, CEO of Telspec Trade, a company that holds the Piletilevi brand, said that he was not aware of the pros and cons of the new ticket sales system, but he was also not terrified by competition. “We know from our experiences that it is a time consuming process to create a ticket sales system that services a huge amount of events daily,” said Beilmann. He is convinced that as the use of ID cards expands they could use it in their system in the future. Both Piletilevi and idpilet.ee get their revenues as a commission from ticket sales.

Peipman sees additional opportunities for the new system. Besides using it as a means of identification and a payment system it could also be used in trade as a customer card for discounts and people will not have to carry along wallets packed with various cards any longer. If tests are successful, their plan is to work closely with manufacturers of cash register systems so that ID cards could be used as widely as bankcards are used today.

Source: http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/15361/

Companies keep an eye out for downtown offices

tbt3.jpg
The Baltic Times, TALLINN
By Kairi Kurm
May 10, 2006

The supply of office space is very low in Tallinn, forcing companies to book their new offices months or even years in advance. And the city’s increased construction costs, lack of available land and growing rental levels aren’t helping the situation. “Few office buildings are being built because residential developments are more attractive than renting office spaces. Unlike offices, flats are sold at once and bring in fast profit,” said Hindrek Leppsalu, the manager of Ober-Haus Real Estate.

However, a growing number of companies want to purchase offices in order to reduce their rental overheads by replacing them with monthly loan repayments. This trend also attracts companies that are not planning to expand but are looking to invest. In many cases, the monthly loan repayments are as high as the rent itself. Besides, lending conditions are quite favorable at the moment at a competitive 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent interest. “In the future, I believe that developers will offer more offices for sale. There’s a demand for that,” said Leppsalu. There are currently about 217,000 square meters of office space in downtown Tallinn, 128,000 of which are “A class” office stock. Another 8,000 square meters will be added this year. “As we have a shortage of A class office space in Tallinn, I would say that another 20,000 – 25,000 square meters could be added to the market,” said Leppsalu.

Vacancy in most office buildings has dropped below one percent, which has resulted in available space being open for only a short time. Although office buildings with a vacancy rate of about 20 percent do exist, they are rare, according to Arco Vara real estate agency. But yields – what an investor regains from the purchasing price in rental revenues – are not as high as they were a few years ago, dropping from 18 percent to 7 percent. Developers are struggling to profit mainly due to Tallinn’s lack of property, increasing land prices and construction prices. Besides, rental prices have not increased substantially. “The yield is about 8-9 percent at a developing stage, and 6.5-7.5 percent on the aftermarket,” said Leppsalu. The Danish investor Baltic Property Trust bought two office buildings last year at yields of 9-10 percent. “There are few deals with 10 percent yields nowadays. Even warehouses bring in only 8-8.5 percent,” said Leppsalu.

According to a report by Ober-Haus, rents have been stable in Estonia for the last seven years. During the first half of 2006, due to limited supply, rents have gone up by 10 to 15 percent to 13.5 to 16 euros per square meter. Typical service charges are 2.5-3.5 euros/sqm. Rents for class B office space range from 8 to 11 EUR/sqm and have increased by 5-10 percent during the last year.

NEW OFFICE PROJECTS IN TALLINN:

Tallinn twin towers, Tartu St., Tornimae 3-5-7
Area: 7500 m2
Price: 200-250 kr/m2 (rent)
Completion date: November 2006

Foorum, Hobujaama
Area: 5000 m2
Price: 180-240 kr/m2 (rent)
Completion date: November, 2006

Katusepapi 8
Area: 2900 m2
Price: 17,000-21,000 kr/m2 (sale)
Completion date: 2006

Parnu St. 139e
Area: 6000 m2
Price: 160-170 kr/m2 (rent), 17,000-20,000 kr/m2 (sale)
Completion date: May 2006

Liimi 1b
Area: 2500 m2
Price: 130 kr/m2 (rent)
Completion date: February 2006

Fahle Maja, Tartu St. 84a
Area: 3000 m2
Price: 17 000-20 000 kr/m2 (sale)
Completion date: October 2006

Ulemiste Arimaja, Peterburi tee 2f
Area: 5500 m2
Price: 160-180 kr/m2 (rent)
Completion date: Spring 2006

Source: Arco Vara
Source of the article: http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/15372/

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