Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2013 - Page 51

cording to the barometer, 76 % of the shopping centre directors report that their total sales have grown from previous year. The most positive signals are coming from Cafés and Restaurants segment, while Decoration and Home Supplies offered the poorest outlook. Green Streak Going Strong According to the barometer, environmental responsibility was perceived to be the most important megatrend in the business today – so one can expect shopping centres to keep going green in the future. One example of this trend is shopping centre Veturi in Kouvola, the seventh biggest shopping oasis in the land. Launched in September, Veturi takes pride in its green genes. First of all, the environmental impacts of the shopping centre are assessed using the BREEAM method. A ground heating system was adopted for Veturi already at the construction stage. Half of the cooling and heating power of the shopping centre is derived from the ground, and condensation heat derived from the cooling of chest freezers is used in the heating of the shopping centre. The carbon dioxide system of refrigeration equipment also helps save energy. The shopping centre even features recharge points for electric cars – and nearly 200 spaces for bicycles. In addition to championing the environment, shopping centres are very important to their surrounding communities. The number of shopping centres in Finland presently stands at 80 and they are important concentrations of employment: a total of 34,000 service professionals have jobs in the 3,500 outlets located in these shopping centres. Furthermore, 96 percent of Finnish shopping centres are located in city centres or built-up areas. Spice Up Downtown With such figures, it is clear that investments in shopping centres have the power to be a serious driver in, for example, the redevelopment of provincial city centres. During the past few years many towns, including Jyväskylä, Vaasa, Lahti, Joensuu, Seinäjoki, Salo and Rovaniemi, have benefited from the re-energising impact of the shopping centres. New shopping centres, such as Mikkeli’s Stella and Akseli shopping centres have brought about a broad-based renewal of the city centre, with underground parking beneath the market square. Also, the expansion of Stella was successful enough to land “Shopping Centre of the Year 2012” honours. In Hämeenlinna, on the other hand, there is a shopping centre under construc- tion over a motorway, linking the formerly divided city centre together. The innovative deck construction will, in all likelihood, be used elsewhere as well. Active Year In addition to Veturi, 2012 saw the completion of two new shopping centres, Matkus (Kuopio) and Will