VR head offices to move away from railway station
VR Group is planning to move its head offices located at Helsinki's Central Railway Station to new premises. Station activities at the Central Railway Station will nevertheless continue and develop further.
Helsinki's Central Railway Station is divided into three units. Passengers go to the trains through the station hall. It is the part of the building with the station's most visible symbols - the clock tower and the lantern bearer statues (the so-called Stone Men). In the west wing there is commercial space, including a gym and restaurants. The eastern wing has VR office space for various VR Group services, for instance. More than 600 VR employees work in the premises. New activities can now be planned for the east wing.
VR might remain the owner of the building, or parts of the Central Railway Station might be sold to outside investors. The matter is under consideration and no decisions have yet been made.
- No matter which option is realised, earnings from real estate property can be improved - that is, the balance can be put to work. VR is carrying out equipment investments of historic magnitude after buying new locomotives and roling stock worth a couple of billion euros. "To finance these investments we must do all that we can, as we cannot assume that the owner - the state - would pay for them", says Mikael Aro, President and CEO of VR Group.
The upgrading of activities and services does not require significant changes in the external appearance of the Central Railway Station. The changes are being planned and carried out togeteher with the National Board of Antiquities and the City of Helsinki. The station hall will continue to be a space that is open to the public, and new services are to be brought to the station. The upcoming change also establishes prerequisites for the development of Railway Square, and the station environment according to the needs of residents.
- The railway station has been in Helsinki's best location for 150 years and changes have always been taking place. The old station building was demolished and the present one was built about 100 years ago. Goods traffic has freed up space for the Music Centre, Kansalaistori square, and the Helsinki Central Library. The opening of the main post office building and the office blocks surrounding Senate Square, for instance, have brought more life to Helsinki", Mikael Aro says.
The new head offices of VR Group will probably be built in North Pasila near the Pasila and Ilmala stations. The aim is to implement the project together with a real estate investor. VR would be a tenant in the premises. Depending on the zoning process, it would be possible to move into the new premises in 2017 at the earliest. Plans are for a new bus depot to be built on Veturitie for Pohjolan Liikenne, which is part of the VR Group.
- The existing office space was built more than 100 years ago for the National Railway Administration. The east wing of the Central Railway Station was the largest and most modern office building of its time. The premises are unique, but unfortunately they are no longer suitable for a VR office in the best way possible. By relocating to new premises we will be able to work more flexibly and more efficiently", Mikael Aro says.