Leppävaara’s remarkable growth draws in businesses and residents
Leppävaara has emerged as Espoo’s most attractive and significant urban centre, one whose growth is already challenging the city centres of the Helsinki metropolitan area.
According to Mika Rantala, Project Director at the City of Espoo, the Leppävaara district in eastern Espoo plays a key role in the Helsinki metropolitan area as a whole.
Leppävaara is not only an important traffic hub, but also a significant cluster of housing, business and services.
“Studies show that businesses consider Leppävaara to be the best location in Espoo, and the local residents are also the most satisfied in all of Espoo,” Rantala says.
Leppävaara’s population currently makes it the fourth-largest sub-centre in the metropolitan area. In terms of area density and the number of jobs, it already ranks second after Pasila.
Businesses value Leppävaara’s transport connections, while local residents appreciate the beauty of the built environment.
The industries with the highest number of jobs in Leppävaara are ICT, the retail and wholesale trade as well as education.
“A quarter of all ICT jobs in Finland are located along the Pitäjänmäki–Leppävaara–Keilaniemi–Otaniemi axis,” Rantala points out.
Excellent location and pro-growth zoning
In Rantala’s view, Leppävaara owes its success to its great location as well as active and balanced urban development.
In spite of the district’s rapid growth, zoning has been very deliberate. This has shaped Leppävaara into a balanced combination of residential neighbourhoods, services and business activity.
Rantala underlines Leppävaara’s significance as one of the key traffic hubs of the Helsinki metropolitan area.
Ring Road I and Turuntie intersect in Leppävaara and the Leppävaara railway station, which has grown into Espoo’s main railway station, and the adjacent bus station provide excellent public transport connections.
There are plans for residential, retail and office buildings, totalling 60,000–70,000 square metres of net floor space, on the northern side of Turuntie.
“The one-hour train connection between Helsinki and Turku, the Espoo City Rail Link and Raide-Jokeri light rail line will further improve Leppävaara’s accessibility and the demand for services in the area. Raide-Jokeri will provide transverse rail connections to Itäkeskus, Otaniemi and Keilaniemi,” Rantala explains.
Construction activity remains high
There are currently dozens of zoning changes pending in Greater Leppävaara. The aims of these changes include making southern and northern Leppävaara a more cohesive whole, constructing new buildings on the northern side and expanding the Sello shopping centre.
“There are plans for residential, retail, office and hotel buildings, totalling 60,000–70,000 square metres of net floor space, on the northern side of Turuntie,” Rantala says.
The population of Leppävaara is expected to grow from the current level of 68,000 to approximately 100,000 by 2050.
New construction is also planned for the residential neighbourhoods of Vermonniitty, Puustellinkallio, Säterinkallionkulma, Palokärki and Kilonkartano in the coming years.
The area around Hatsinanpuisto park will be a multi-purpose hub for housing, services and sports.
“Leppävaara will become known as an Experience Garden that provides opportunities for a wide range of recreational activities. A new multi-purpose arena is being planned for Leppävaara Sports Park and the area around the Vermo horse racing track will be shaped into a hub for animal sports and events,” Rantala adds.
Sources: Finnish Environment Institute reports 18/2014, Espoo as an operating environment for businesses 2016 research report, KAPA local government services 2016 study, Resident satisfaction survey results, Espoo, 2016
Sponda is actively involved in Leppävaara’s development
- Sponda is planning a seven-storey office building at Esikunnantie 1, with 12,500 square metres of net floor space. The plan is for the building to be completed within the next couple of years. The decisions concerning the building’s floor plans and facade are still open to change on the basis of tenant needs.
- The newly constructed building will be a nearly zero-energy building that uses renewable energy. Gold or Platinum level environmental certification will be sought for the building.
- Esikunnankatu 1 will be completed at the intersection of Ring Road I and Turuntie. With some 80,000 cars passing the site every day, it will offer excellent visibility for businesses. The services of the Sello shopping centre, Glo Hotel, bus station and railway station are all nearby.
- Sponda also aims to build office properties in the near future in the centre of Leppävaara, in a planning reserve area located along Turuntie.
- Sponda currently owns six office properties in Leppävaara, with premises ranging in size from 150 to more than 1,000 square metres.
Experts: Jyri Savolainen, Project Manager, Sponda; Saskia Lammi, Asset Manager, Sponda; Sampo Ahlsten, Property Development Manager, Sponda.