Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2019 - Page 36

P Concept is King SRV brings hybrid edge to its profile projects – and renews focus on customer experience In September 2018, Helsinki received its first experience-driven shopping center as REDI opened its doors in Kalasatama, Helsinki. According to developer SRV, REDI is a new way to live, enjoy oneself and shop in the middle of the city. Beyond SRV, the investor group includes also Ilmarinen, OP Financial Group and LocalTapiola. A lot of shopping centers talk about being “big on experience”, but REDI really lives up to the prom- ise by delivering, for example, a climbing arena, a unique free-fall wind tunnel and, located on the roof of the center, the green deck Bryga, for the visitors. Toni Kankare, Project Development Director at SRV, says that REDI signifies a strong trend in retail where “just shopping” is an old hat. “The new retail mix includes commercial elements, restaurants and cafés and access to memorable experience.” Furthermore, REDI has parking spaces for 2,000 cars, including several hundred electric cars, and initially for 1,500 bicy- cles. There is convenient metro access to the third floor of REDI. The appeal of the “experience center” is enhanced by works of art which go a long way to establish a gen- uine identity for the center. 36 Nordicum Don’t Believe the Hype REDI has 63,000 square metres of leasa- ble space, which makes it one of Finland’s largest shopping centers. There are just over 200 leased business premises, occupied by nearly 180 operators. Located at the inter- section of the major highways Itäväylä and Lahdenväylä, REDI has a footfall target of 12 million visitors in its first year. During September alone, REDI had 350,000 visitors. However, the sales num- bers at the center during the first months have been rather mild, causing concern in the ranks of the REDI entrepreneurs. “Nevertheless, it’s still early in the game,” Kankare points out. “After each shopping center launch – and the related hype – there is a plateau of sorts in terms of activity and interest. It is normal that some tenants leave and new players come in.” Eventually, a “second wind” of sorts takes hold and the shopping center really gets going. “Further honing the concept at some point is often the way to go,” says Kankare who is confident that REDI will catch on in big way as more and more ­people get acquainted with it. Going Small? Lately, Kankare has been occupied with another shopping center project – this one decidedly smaller. Shopping Center Karu- selli opened its doors in downtown Kerava on 1 November 2018. “With 26 stores (and 5,500 square metres), Karuselli represents the more compact and agile sort of an ani- mal,” says Kankare who’s been involved with the project since its infancy. “Karuselli is focusing on the every- day, bringing the key services to the center