Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2019 - Page 33

mann and Q-Park – a pick-up service where visitors can have their purchases delivered to their cars while they shop. And there’s more: parking facilities represent new kind of “smart parking” where the register plates of incoming cars are read upon entry and this data can be accessed by patrons to locate their vehicles. Inside the shopping center, one can immediately spot the emphasis on food and restaurants. Kim Särs points out that while the common formula for a shopping center once – perhaps 10 years ago – called for 5 % of the operations to be restaurants, AINOA wants to do things a bit different: “Almost 15% of our stores’ leasable area is now covered with cafes and restau- rants and we feel very comfortable with this trend,” he says. Culture Boost Nevertheless, food and drink is not the only thing to experience here. As AINOA is located in the middle of Espoo’s culture hub – with, for example, Espoo City The- atre next door – it makes sense to “go cul- tural” from time to time. “There are plans to borrow art work from WeeGee museum and host also clas- sical concerts here,” explains Särs. It is also good to consider the sus- tainability angle. In June 2017, AINOA’s expansion received a LEED Platinum certif- icate, racking up more points than any other Finnish shopping center to date. Once Phase III is completed, there should more reason to celebrate: “We want to sustain the current LEED excellence,” comment Särs and Immonen. But even before the launch of Phase III, there will be a major development in the shopping center as a new bus terminal will kick-off in March 2019. “The bus terminal will handle about 20,000 passengers every day, meaning that around 100 buses will come through the ter- minal per hour,” explains Immonen. Residential Reach Still, there’s more to new development here than strictly commercial pursuits. There is, in fact, a completely new type of residential area that is being built on top of the shop- ping center. Featuring five apartment build- ings, the area is intended also for the public, offering an attractive living environment in the very heart of Tapiola. “The area – going by the name Kirjokansi – already features 127 apartments, with another batch to fol- low soon,” says Kim Särs. “By spring 2020, we will add around 200 apartments, bringing the total to 322 apartments,” says Särs, referring to the res- idential solutions as “the next level living”. The views from the apartments to the neigh- bouring park and beyond are tremendous – there are, for instance, green roofs in place that really pay tribute to the spirit of the Garden City. “The legacy of Tapiola is clearly evi- dent in the residential designs,” adds Särs. Keys to the Kingdom Tapiola has always been near and dear to the heart of LocalTapiola which, of course, shares its name with the neighbourhood (Tapiola is the name of the ancient forest kingdom of Finnish lore). “Tapiola is also the home base of LocalTapiola, as the com- pany has over 1,500 employees here,” com- ments Vesa Immonen. “LocalTapiola owns more than a dozen properties in the Tapiola Center with a value of around EUR 600 million.” This “Tapiola Portfolio” represents the biggest real estate investment in the history of the company. According to Immonen, the develop- ment in Tapiola has sometimes been lag- ging behind, in a way, due to various inter- ests of local owners. “In such a situation, it is helpful if a big player makes a commitment to push the neighbourhood to the next level. LocalTap- iola has been glad to take on that role – and we want to keep contributing in the future, too.” Rebirth of a Legend Tapiola certainly has a special place in the hearts of the Finns – and many international fans, as well. The neighbourhood has been regarded as a natural treasure since its birth over 60 years ago: a shining example of a modern community rooted in natural values. Immonen believes that this Tapiola “core brand” remains, for the most part, unchanged. “Tapiola Spirit is alive and well – and now, it’s really been re-energized,” he says.   l Nordicum 33