Award-winning architects Haskoll have commenced a €90 million project to renovate Itäkeskus, Finland’s largest shopping centre first opened in 1984. When completed in 2014, the centre will be repositioned and reaffirmed as the country’s leading shopping centre.
Owner Wereldhave Finland is also reviewing the tenant mix for the centre. It is currently involved in negotiations with a number of key international retail chains seeking to enter Finland.
Stockmann Department Store currently anchors the centre, which has 120,300 square metres of retail space and over 250 stores. It will continue to do so from a new location at the end of the main mall, scheduled to open at the end of 2013. This relocation allows the creation of 12,000 m2 of prime retail accommodation for leasing to new tenants. The entire renovation and remodeling will create approximately 11,000 square metres of additional commercial space in a series of phases.
Derek Barker, Managing Director at UK-based Haskoll, lead design and concept architect on the project, said: “This is a fabulous project. The new design will maximise commercial opportunities in the centre and provide a modern shopper environment. Work is progressing phase by phase, a difficult job as tenants must be relocated while continuing to trade.”
He added: “This is a good example of a centre owner’s recognition of the need to rejuvenate successful but aging retail environments.”
The centre has been renamed Itis, as it is already widely known in the local community, and a rebranding exercise is under way.
Jaakko Ristola Managing Director, Wereldhave Finland Ristola believes that a shopping centre can no longer be a static space where stores open in the morning and close in the evening: “Shopping centres are as much providers of services as social meeting places, where people spend their time in comfortable surroundings. This trend can be seen all over the world,” He said.
The redevelopment by Wereldhave Finland has been driven by the growing number of inhabitants of nearby areas Vuosaari, Sipoonranta, Kruunuvuori, Myllypuro and Viikki.
JonesLangLaSalle has been retailed as leasing consultant and Laker Developments are the Development Managers.