Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2018 - Page 23

Senate Properties pursues ambitious redevelopment in Helsinki – and beyond T he real estate sector in Finland encom- passes both the urban and the rural, the large scale as well as small. Owned by the State, Senate Properties has a good han- dle on real estate across the country, since the company manages the government’s property assets and their efficient use. Sen- ate is also responsible for the sale and devel- opment of properties no longer used by the government. Real Estate Development Manager Minna Aarnio comments that real estate is currently a “hot ticket” in the investor circles and also international players are express- ing interest in various properties. However, the market continues to be rather polarised, since prime real estate in the Helsinki Metro- politan Area tends to be a lot more attractive than properties located away from growth centres and the hottest business buzz. Presently, one of the most high-profile projects of Senate is the remaking of Central Pasila, the transportation hub located just north of Helsinki downtown. The Helsinki High Rise design-build competition sought out companies to plan and raise ambitious high-rise architecture in the area, and in October 2017 it was reported that the Final Four has been chosen in the race. Winner Takes All The players advancing to the final round are Sponda Oy; YIT Rakennus Oy; collab- oration by Fira Oy, Bonava Suomi Oy and NREP Oy; and collaboration by Skanska Talonrakennus Oy, Skanska CDF Oy and Sato-Rakennuttajat Oy. “We’re engaging in dialogue with the finalists and they are very excited about this The new Regiment Park in Tuusula. project,” says Aarnio at the end of Novem- ber. Senate is the largest landowner in the area, with a strong motivation to push the project along. “We’re looking to make the final decision by the end of 2018.” Over all, the redevelopment of Cen- tral Pasila will mean 30,000+ new inhabit- ants and it will have a big solidifying impact on the city structure. “What’s happening in Pasila during the next years will be a dra- matic shift for the better,” believes Aarnio. Reinventing Otaniemi Another key area where Senate has lots of land and major plans is Otaniemi – the home to innovation university Aalto. While Aalto University Properties manage the actual campus properties, Senate holds sway over Central Pasila and The Helsinki High Rise design-build competition area in Helsinki. many research and office premises in the area. Real Estate Development Manager Emmi Sihvonen says that the idea here is to rationalise and diversify land use. “The main goal is to boost residential solutions in Otaniemi,” she says, adding that so far, basically only Aalto students call the neighbourhood home – but there’s room for so much more. Along with housing, also an upgrade in the service level is needed. “We want to see a more mixed envi- ronment making residential developments and areas alive, where there are restau- rants, shops and cafes in the area utilising the recently opened subway connection,” she says. Big Plans for Tuusula In the Greater Helsinki Region, there’s strong development also in Tuusula. Case in point: Senate Properties and the municipal- ity of Tuusula are looking to take an old gar- rison property and use it to anchor a vibrant new neighbourhood. “The new, central district could encom- pass as many as 15,000 people, which makes it one of the major urban developments in the Greater Helsinki Region,” says Real Estate Development Manager Otto Virenius. Senate has plots for sale in the area to the tune of 170,000 floor square meters for now and more coming later. The goal here is to create an urban, modern community with a strong emphasis on nature. “The new Regiment Park and the sur- rounding areas will take more than ten years to take shape, but, over time, the develop- ment effort will definitely change Tuusula in a big way.” l Nordicum 23