Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 28

Spearheading sustainability, Espoo is finally launching its long-awaited metroline – and the more conventional tracks on the ground are doing fine, too Photo: HKP Architects Rock the Rails The future of Espoo lies underground – so to speak. The western metroline is almost complete – with only a few months to go to the grand opening of the Espoo metro in August 2016. The stations along the 14-kilometre metro line – running from Helsinki to Espoo – will be located in Lauttasaari and Koivusaari on the Helsinki side, and in Keilaniemi, Otaniemi, Tapiola, Urheilupuisto, Niittykumpu and Matinkylä in Espoo. A nd that’s just for starters. The extension of the metro line is already underway, promising to add five new stations within seven kilometres of the line by 2020. The new stations will be Finnoo, Kaitaa, Soukka, Espoonlahti and Kivenlahti, as the line keeps reaching west, towards the city limits. Therefore, the “biggest infrastructure project in the country” is actually just halfway done. Matti Kokkinen, Managing Director of Länsimetro Oy, says that as the original project is coming to an end, it made perfect sense to keep going. Continuing the project on-the-fly means that there’s labour, 26 Nordicum expertise and equipment available – and during tough economic times, a project of this magnitude serves as a sort of “national stimulus package.” Working on a Dream In fact, as the Government gave the green light to “bonus” project – by promising to compensate up 30 % of the construction bill – this also meant securing jobs for 4,500 people. “Right now, the first phase of the metro is in great shape – we completed laying the tracks on 4 December,” says Kokkinen, adding that this means that the building of the metro stations will only intensify from now on: “We are putting the finishing touches on the stations now,” he confirms. Launching of the metro shows clearly that Espoo is serious in pursuing a more compact urban structure that is based on rails. For example, Espoonlahti – a key station along the extension line – is already a city centre of 55,000 residents and will benefit tremendously from better connectivity. The same goes for all communities located along the metroline: the City expects that development and redevelopment efforts in the vicinity of the 11 metro stations will con-