Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2015 - Page 53

sula, there are several hotel projects in the pipeline and results should be forthcoming quickly: “The City has the ability to move fast with permits, since there is zoning already in place that enables the construction of hotels.” Master the Flow Going North! This buzz has not gone unnoticed by the industry’s top international players. AlaMursula reports that during the last six months, ten new international ICT companies have established operations here – from such countries as Taiwan, Germany, Norway, Italy, USA... “If you look at all the Foreign Direct Investments made in Finland in 2014, you can quickly see that Oulu comes on top in this department,” Ala-Mursula says. Especially ICT companies with ambitious R&D that are eying Oulu right now, Pauliina Pikkujämsä says. “All and all, our ICT sector encompasses more than 1,000 highly-skilled experts – and that number is growing,” she says. T alk about your demanding deliveries. As Ruukki Construction, the City of Oulu, Helsinki Design Week and architect & design agency Snøhetta organised an open architectural design competition for young architects and designers, they had something very special in mind. The mission in 'The Unbelievable Challenge' was to find innovative ideas and solutions for logistics center placed in the City of Oulu that would meet the challenges that the Nordic investment boom sets for retail and logistics buildings. World-famous logistical supergenius, Santa Claus, was chosen to represent the investor. Launched in spring 2014, the Unbelievable Challenge culminated in Helsinki in December with the announcement of the winner. The entry 'Nothing is impossible,' submitted by Alexandru Oprita and Laurentiu Constantin of Romania, was chosen as the winner. According to the jury, the strength of this proposal is being able to exhibit surprise and magical character within the building itself. The magic happens on the building's façade. A simple idea makes it possible to blend the borders between traditional and online shopping. It also makes it possible to position logistics buildings in the best possible areas without sacrificing cityscape. The jury was genuinely surprised at both the sheer number of entries – 243 in total – and the amount and quality of thinking that the entrants had obviously invested in the competition. Out of the high-quality entries, jury selected six finalists, one of which was awarded the main prize- a ten-week fully-paid internship at the internationally acclaimed Snøhetta agency in Oslo, Norway. Four others each received a prize of € 1,000. Photo: Alexandru Oprita & Laurentiu Constantin Furthermore, Oulu has been placing additional focus on smooth downtown logistics under its “Logistics Street” concept which is another enabling factor, making it easier to service the city center in more diverse ways. The completion of underground parking facilities in 2015 will also facilitate a smoother flow of traffic. That same spirit of connectivity extends into the digital networks, as well. In fact, Oulu is the leading city in the utilisation of 5G networks. “We have Europe’s best wireless ecosystem here, regardless of the industry,” AlaMursula says, adding that not many worthy challengers emerge from outside Europe, either. The solid ICT foundation was built during Nokia’s glory days and that expertise still remains, for the most part, in the area: many ex-Nokians have, for example, launched their own startups and come up with numerous innovations, often with ties to the ever-increasing app world. Santa Claus Logistics? Young Power Expertise and education are very much key words in the Oulu Region, as the City boasts, for example, the second largest university in Finland and more than 30,000 college students. The students, in turn, provide new blood to the local economy in various ways, making sure that the community stays dynamic and vibrant. “The goal for the City is to become the fastest growing economic region in the country – and we feel that we’re well on our way,” Ala-Mursula and Pikkujämsä sum up. Nordicum 51