VR Group is selling its head office: Scandic to open a hotel in Helsinki Railway Station
VR Group is selling its head office, located in connection with Helsinki Railway Station, to real estate investment company Exilion, which will renovate the facilities to serve as a hotel for Scandic Hotels. The premises will be released from VR’s use in spring 2018 when the company transfers its head office operations to Iso Paja, which belongs to the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yleisradio Oy). Helsinki's main railway station will remain in the ownership of VR and will be developed in the years to come to match future requirements.
In December 2014, VR Group announced its intentions to move the head office, after which a new owner and activity appropriate for the premises has been actively sought. There has been extensive interest in these historical premises on the international level as well, and discussions were arranged with a large number of different operators. In planning the modification work, there has been positive and close co-operation with the National Board of Antiquities and the City of Helsinki.
- For VR Group, it was important to find an overall solution for this splendid site which complements and supports the developing station area as a whole. A pivotal aim was also to ensure that the new owner and future user would appreciate the history of the building and have a sense of responsibility for the site in the years to come. “We believe that Exilion and Scandic Hotels excellently fulfil all these important expectations and will complement the city structure in just the right way, says VR Group Property Director Ari Mäkinen.
The property will be owned by the limited partnership administered by Exilion Management Oy. The limited partnership investors are employment pension insurance company Elo, the State Pension Fund of Finland, and pension insurance company Veritas.
- We are satisfied and enthusiastic about the fact that we can plan and renovate the site together with Scandic. The location for the hotel is the best possible, and Scandic as the largest hotel operator in the Nordic countries is a marvellous partner in the project, Ari Talja, Exilion’s Managing Director, commented.
Scandic Hotels will open a hotel consisting of 500 rooms in the facilities in 2020, which will splendidly complement the hotel provision in Helsinki and respond to the growth in work and leisure time travel.This hotel, functioning as a Helsinki landmark, will be one of Scandic’s largest.
- For us, it is an honour to be able to open these historically significant premises to the public. We want to offer adventurous hotel stays to our clients that nurture the heritage left by Eliel Saarinen, relates Aki Käyhkö, Managing Director for Scandic Hotels Finland.
Move in spring of 2018
VR’s new head office facilities are currently under renovation at Iso Paja, owned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yleisradio Oy) in Länsi-Pasila. With the head office move, the opportunity is assured for VR’s personnel to work in a modern manner marked by an open operational culture. The move is also part of the company’s significant boost in efficiency whose aim is to increase its competitiveness.
- In co-operation with various parties, VR is actively processing its properties, particularly with respect to the requirements of mass transit and logistics. For those properties that have no such need, the best solution from the perspective of VR, the owner and the market is always sought on a case-by-case basis, says VR Group’s CEO Rolf Jansson.
The current office premises are over one hundred years old. By transferring to new facilities, VR’s personnel will be able to work more flexibly and effectively in premises designed for contemporary office work.
The goal is that the facilities will be released to the new owner in June 2018.The value of the transaction is EUR 55 million.
The main Helsinki Railway Station property was designed by Eliel Saarinen. The office premises of the Finnish Rail Administration, i.e. VR’s current head office section, were completed in 1909. During its entire life cycle, the facilities have adapted to the requirements of each time period. The current changes are part of this long history.
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