Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 39

to imagine that a completely new chapter in the development of the neighbourhood is about to begin. The over-all aim is to create a lively, multifaceted urban centre with modern mass transportation terminals, well-organised parking and maintenance arrangements. Vesa Eskoli, Real Estate Investment Director at LocalTapiola Real Estate Asset Management, believes that there will be no stopping Tapiola’s comeback: “This is where strong community values meet dynamic urban structure – it’s simply a great platform for future success,” Eskoli says. The blocks to the south of the original Centre will be renewed according to the same urban sociological principles that first created the Garden City. As a consequence, the Tapiola Centre will be totally transformed. For example, the level previously in use for private car traffic (Merituulentie,) will feature retail spaces and a pedestrian area; there will be plenty of parking space for bikes in the vicinity of the metro station; and new plazas and pedestrian streets will appear in Tapiola Centre, and the roof area will be green and well-groomed. Ainoa the Anchor And then there is the shopping centre Ainoa (owned by Tapiola KR III Real Estate Fund) which is ushering in a new era for local shopping. Having opened its doors in October 2013, the newcomer is still relatively small – with 10 000 square metres and 30 shops – but, eventually, Ainoa will be considerably bigger. The second phase of constructing Ainoa has already started, and the shopping centre will expand over Merituulentie. The expansion will increase the square area of Ainoa from the current 10,000 square metres to 30,000 square metres. The second phase of construction will be finished in spring 2017, and the shopping centre will then include premises for e.g. the department store Stockmann. After the second phase, the third phase will start by demolishing the building where Stockmann is currently situated and constructing new premises. The demolished building will be replaced with premises of approximately 20,000 square metres, and after that Ainoa will cover over 50,000 square metres and include 100 shops. Driver for Change According to Vesa Eskoli, there’s more to come: “Third phase of Ainoa will be completed by 2019, and there are plans for phase four, too,” he says, adding that Ainoa has become an important rallying point for the entire “Tapiola Renaissance”. “Especially as we’re strengthening the residential element in Tapiola, there’s a sense that Tapiola is going back to its roots, to the original idea of quality living.” According to Eskoli, a completely new type of residential area will be built on top of Ainoa. The area is intended for the public, offering an attractive living environment in the heart of the Garden City. The area – going by the name Tapiolan Kirjokansi – consists of apartment buildings as well as row houses. “Taken together, there will be a total of 260 apartments,” Eskoli adds. Just Warming Up While residential concerns are addressed, boosting parking facilities is also an issue. The central car park in Tapiola offers firstclass parking space in connection with Ainoa; the second phase of Tapiola Park, which will be finished in spring 2016, will push the number of parking places to 2,000. Talking about the LocalTapiola strategy for Tapiola Centre, both Immonen and Eskoli assess that the company is just getting started: “We will be a strong player in this neighbourhood in the future, as well.” O Nordicum 37