At the Noblessner area the historic submarine factory has been developed into a modern urban environment where valuable historic architecture, marina, costal promenade, and a multifunctional real-estate development meet. The area is open to the people and the sea.
In 1912 czar Nikolay II lay the first stone of the new Russian Navy base intended to be built in Tallinn. With the Navy base several shipyards were formed as the state gave financial guaranties and placed first orders. One of these shipyards was Noblessner that specialized in building submarines and was co-owned by to businessmen of Scandinavian origin, Emanuel Nobel and Gustav Lessner.
During the First World War the shipyard was named the Peter Shipyard and after the war, when the yard lacked enough orders, it went bankrupt. The yard was divided between smaller companies who continued shipbuilding activities. During the Second World War the shipyard was nationalized. The yard was named Tallinn Maritime Factory and throughout the Soviet period it continued to repair different vessels. After the collapse of the USSR the shipyard was privatized. Under different ownership the yard continued to work until 2018.
The redevelopment started in 2013 when the shipyard was still in use – the area had been bought by the BLRT Group who had renamed the are back to Noblessner. In cooperation with several partners the new owners set out to convert the shipyard into a modern urban environment.
The are has 18 listed buildings, most of them have been renovated. Most notable examples are the historic foundry building that now houses the PROTO Invention Factory (KAOS Architects) and the old ship system plant that currently houses the KAI Art Center (KAOS Architects, HG Architecture). Several of the historic buildings have been converted into offices or retail premises. In addition to these the first stage of the new developments has also finished. In cooperation with Merko building company four new apartment complexes were erected right at the waterfront. This added more than 200 apartments and nearly 4000 m2 of retail and office spaces. The buildings were completed between 2017-2019. The buildings and the public spaces around them were designed by Architectural Bureau PLUSS.