Property investment company Sponda Plc is developing a new style office and shopping center in the City-Center commercial complex in the best location in Helsinki. Construction is progressing in phases, and the work has now moved to the above-ground floors.
Construction of the office building in the inner court of the complex is getting underway, and new retail premises are being built on the first and second floors of the complex and on the former parking deck on the third floor. The entire 4,200 m2 office building being erected in the heart of the complex has been leased to Evli Bank Plc, which will move all its head office functions to the building. The current construction phase will be completed in autumn 2011 and its costs are approximately EUR 30 million. The construction phase will see also the completion of the City-Center service facilities linked to the city centre service tunnel, and of the light shaft into the complex, which will allow daylight right down into the station tunnel.
The property is at present Sponda's most important and most visible property development site. The total cost of the investment has increased from the estimation given in the year 2005 to EUR 125 million. This is due to changes in the plans, adding housing solutions to the plans, a delay in the project timetable, and a sharper rise in building costs than had been estimated.
In the following construction phases, the existing service area on the second basement floor will be converted into retail premises and the facade on Keskuskatu street will be renovated, which will allow the retail premises to expand towards Keskuskatu street. The most of the retail premises will be kept open, and access for pedestrians through the complex is being guaranteed throughout the time of construction.
The development project will increase the leasable area of the property from 41,000 to 55,000 m2. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2012. The main contractor of the current construction phase is Skanska Talonrakennus Oy.
Environmentally benign solutions
Particular attention has been paid in the construction to energy efficiency and environmentally benign solutions. Low-emission M1-grade building materials are being used almost everywhere, and over 90 % of the building waste is being recycled for reuse. Methods to raise energy efficiency include heat recovery from the ventilation system and thermally efficient glass structures in the office building. During the current construction phase the property will be connected to the district cooling system.
A major focus in the new shopping centre is to make the premises clear and easy to access. Getting from one level to another is being made easy, and tempting. Light comes in from the light shaft in the heart of the building, and this allows daylight right down to the lowest floor. The retail premises in the shopping centre are on five floors, with two of these below ground level.
The new shopping center will considerably alter the Helsinki cityscape. The area will be significantly revitalized as Keskuskatu street becomes a pedestrian zone, and the focus of the central business district is expected to move to the area surrounding Keskuskatu street. The pedestrian zone and covered routes around the shopping complex will increase the attraction of the new office and shopping center.