Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2014 - Page 19

nal version. The process involved a lot of discussions as to what are the key guidelines which will steer the development in the years and decades to come. “One has to keep in mind that a project of this magnitude could be 40 years in the making. We needed to make sure that the foundation is solid.” Anchoring Success Finally, three things surfaced as “anchors” for the development project. First, there is the scenic element: the majestic scenery of Ylläs that every patron must be able to experience, regardless of their choice of lodgings. Second, the neighbourhood also features two authentic villages where the natives have been living for ages, giving the area roots and sense of tradition. “In total, the villages of Ylläs and Äkäslompolo feature about 1,000 residents and they continue to be active, vibrant local communities,” Oikarinen says, adding that the planning effort will respect this and safeguard the continuity aspects. Third issue on the list is energy efficiency: as the villages are to be built relative high-up, above the tree level, they are exposed to the sometimes fierce winds of the fell. Optimal positioning of the building masses will go a long away to make sure that wind chill does not mean a spike in the heating bills. “For heating purposes, we are looking for a modern, centralised solution,” Oikarinen says, adding that thermal heating is one potent option, but it’s too early in the game to say anything certain yet. Killer Concept It is clear that Metsähallitus has spared no effort to create a solid concept for Ylläs. But what kind of perks are expected to woo the patrons in the future, then? Oikarinen reveals that there is a golf course in the works, as well as a bigger spa to complement the existing, smaller spa operation at Iso-Ylläs. “The new spa is a good example of the synergy power of the concept: by itself, a spa has a hard time turning profit, but as a part of a greater whole, it is an important piece of the puzzle and is able to thrive.” As it stands, the first zoning plan for the new village is in the works, and the first 20,000 square metres worth of building rights are to be verified in 2014. On IsoYlläs side, the zoning plan process is under way for the whole area and it will be verified one piece at a time, as need be. “We are following the master plan in this and letting the market situation drive the schedule,” Oikarinen says. Start Your Engines In recent years, the level of investments in Lapland has not exactly been in the throughthe-roof category, so Metsähallitus is waiting for more favourable economic winds to kick-start the mega-project. “But when the market is ready, we are going to be ready as well. We have that capability to move forward when the time comes,” Oikarinen says. The projections made for Ylläs area in 2020, for example, predict intense growth and Oikarinen sees no reason whatsoever why Ylläs shouldn’t be among the winner travel destinations of the future, as well. “For Lapland – and, in wider context, Finland – Ylläs is just about the best thing we have to offer in terms of pure nature and pure experience,” he believes. Metsähallitus Laatumaa L aatumaa is a business unit of Metsähallitus, which sells and leases plots located in a variety of areas, ranging from tourist centres to shore landscapes. Laatumaa offers around 1,000 personal plot options across Finland, from south to north. In addition to plots for holiday homes, Laatumaa sells forest properties large and small as well as cosy lodges in the wilderness. The organisation – which employs 50 professionals – also offers planned sites in several tourist centre areas, even for extensive tourist service concepts. In addition, Laatumaa is engaged in project development in the wind power bus