Bringing various functions into a specific real estate project has been a “go-to” move for industry players for a long time now. This way, you can have public library or a healthcare center in a shopping center with residential construction to boot. This type of a mixed-use approach is attractive in the eyes of the investors, as well, since it offers a certain diversification of space.

Most dominant mixed-use project this year is YIT’s Tripla Center, which holds the biggest shopping center in the Nordics – the Mall of Tripla – offering also significant residential reach. There will be two 12-storey apartment buildings (with almost 400 homes) at Tripla.

And then, there’s the connectivity issue. Pasila railway station – fully integrated to Tripla – is the “superhub” for national and local railway traffic, trams and buses, pedestrian and bicycle traffic and possibly also the metro in the future.

SRV completed a similar mixed-use project, the REDI shopping center, in Kalasatama in 2018. SRV continues to develop high-rise residential buildings in the area, with also an office tower in the works.

Heading northwest to Tampere, SRV is getting ready to start work on Tampere Deck and Arena – another high-profile mixeduse project, bringing residential, sports and culture together.

In both the REDI and Tripla shopping centers, as well as in the Tampere Deck and Arena, there are institutional investors as shareholders, and they thus share the development risk with the main developer. The institutions may also work together directly with tenants in development projects.

Institutions’ development strategies tend to emphasize the redevelopment of existing assets in their portfolios, where they can, for instance, look for new uses for vacant properties. According to KTI Market Review, this is highlighted in current market conditions due to the oversupply of office premises in the Helsinki metropolitan area, which is pressuring investors to look for new solutions.

An oversupply of offices in the Helsinki metropolitan area has generated lots of conversion and redevelopment projects in recent years. In 2018 alone, more than 100,000 square meters of office space was removed from the market. The majority of the old office premises will be converted into residential use, but in the most central locations in Helsinki, many offices have been and are being converted into hotel use. In some cases, office buildings are converted into educational use, too.

It seems that the possibilities inherent in a piece of real estate are now more diverse than ever – or, at least, the imaginations of the designers and developers are in fine form.

Sami J. Anteroinen

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