Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2013 - Page 8

THE AGENDA All Aboard! By Olavi Louko The writer is Deputy Mayor of the City of Espoo Photo: City of Espoo / Markku Ojala, Compic Espoo is recognised as a prosperous, dynamic city with world-class ICT muscle. Celebrating her 555th birthday this year, Espoo is also home to ”innovation university” Aalto. The coming metro connection will take Espoo to the next level. E spoo is the second biggest city in Finland, with 255,000 inhabitants. It is the western neighbour of Helsinki and an integral part of the Greater Helsinki Metropolitan Region which is formed by 14 municipalities. The distance to downtown Helsinki is about 10-20 kilometres, and the Helsinki International Airport is 25 kilometres away. Espoo is a community by the sea, with 50 kilometres of shoreline and over 100 islands. In addition, Espoo has plenty of great lakes and untamed nature; for example, in the north, you’ll find a spectacular national park. With regards to urban structure, we have five city centres located along railway tracks and main roads. Over the period of 60 years, the size of Espoo has grown ten-fold. This growth continues at a rate of 4,000 new inhabitants every year. Out of this number, half comes from organic population growth and the rest comes from international residents moving into Espoo. Even with all the development that has been going on in Espoo over the years, it is important to note that there are still plenty of 6 Nordicum opportunities to solidify the urban structure. The metro is the real game-changer here: as there will be 14 more kilometres of metroline stretching from Helsinki to Espoo, six new metro stations will be launched in Espoo. The metro will start operations at the end of 2015 and it is likely that it will be extended by another 10 kilometres – and five stations – by 2018. Metro will increase the land value and attract a lot of commercial, office and residential construction. During the next ten years, one can expect to see investments to the tune of almost 10 billion euros along the metroline. This will have a positive impact on tax revenue, boosting the quality of life for Espoo’s residents. Along the tracks, we find some of the most notable areas in Finland. Keilaniemi is a hi-tech hub which features the headquarters of Nokia, Kone, Microsoft and Fortum. There is still room in this corporate neighbourhood for newcomers, too. Next to Keilaniemi, there is Aalto University – named after the famous architect Alv