Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2019 - Page 24

Oulu pushes growth via verticality, sustainability and culture Oulu, heralded as the “Capital of the Northern Scandinavia” is presently engaged in building an even brighter future. Under the City Centre 2040 vision, Oulu is looking to increase those elements that add to the appeal and dynamic nature of the northern hi-tech community. A pproved by City Council in April 2017, the Vision acknowledges that the downtown is never really com- plete: it has to change with the times in order to pursue growth. Oulu has a good track record in creative community renewal and the City Centre Vision 2040 is building on that tradition. One key aspect of the Vision is the revitalization of the railway station quarter, since its excellent location in the city core provides plenty of opportunities for rede- velopment. The main land owners, Sen- ate and VR Group, will work with the City of Oulu to create a modern, exciting travel hub. Another logistical opportunity involves trams: as the population of Oulu keeps grow- ing, a tram line is a great fit for the city. Oulu is also exploring its vertical reach. There are plans to build a 22-floor 24 Nordicum tower hotel right by the market square. Reaching 80 meters, the building goes by the name Terwa Tower and it could be open for business, conceivably, by 2023. High Times Matti Matinheikki, Director, Urban & Envi- ronment Services for the City of Oulu, says that the tower introduces new kind of high- rise and hybrid construction in the down- town area. “In addition to the hotel, the building is supposed to feature, for example, offices, restaurants and a spa,” he says, adding that Terwa Tower is one important example of the Vision going forward. Over the next five years Oulu will also participate in a large international EU project under the Horizon 2020 program’s Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) theme which promotes the low carbon objectives of the cities. The project involves 34 part- ners from all over Europe. In practice this means that Oulu is a pilot city in ‘Making-City’ project where innovative energy solutions are designed, carried out and tested under a PED agenda (Positive Energy District). “The pilot site of Oulu is situated in the Kaukovainio center in which a build- ing complex based on innovative energy solutions is designed and built in coopera- tion with the project consortium,” explains Matinheikki. Scalable Sustainability The pilot site produces energy and utilizes waste heat in such a way that the entity