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Renewal at Citycenter – increased comfort and new services give people a reason to stop

The Citycenter shopping centre located in a prime spot in Helsinki is redesigning the K1 floor. The changes are aimed at making the premises more attractive and safe and getting people to stop and use the shopping centre’s new services.  

The first thing that grabs your attention on Citycenter’s new-look K1 floor are the massive overhead lights. The round lighting fixtures that were previously hidden behind a ceiling grille have been given an attractive new appearance by a lighting designer.

Located in a prime spot in the heart of Helsinki, Citycenter has millions of people passing through every year. The renewal efforts are aimed at getting the people who pass through to stop and take advantage of the ever-improving range of services.

There are also changes underfoot. The floor tiles have been replaced by micro-cement and the floor is artistically decorated by letters and numbers that indicate the shopping centre’s latitude and longitude.

The glass sliding doors of the retail units have also been given stylish new black frames.

We wanted these premises to have the same atmosphere and style as the popular restaurant zone on the second floor.

“We wanted the shopping centre’s K1 floor to have the same atmosphere and style as the new-look restaurant zone on the second floor. We have received a lot of positive feedback from customers and tenants about it,” says Citycenter Shopping Centre Director Mervi Jäntti.

The shopping centre’s customers have been delighted with the style and atmosphere of the previously redesigned restaurant zone on the second floor. The idea was to introduce the same style and spirit to the lower floor.

Aiming to get customers to stop

The aim of the renewal project is to make the shopping centre even more attractive and functional for customers and tenants alike. The public facilities are now mostly finished, and the renewal of the retail units will be completed in February 2020. 

According to Shopping Centre Director Mervi Jäntti, this renewal project is only one step in Citycenter’s long-term development. “We are always conscious of our customers’ wishes and the trends and innovations emerging around the world.”

“Citycenter is located at a major hub of public transport, which means that millions of people and potential customers pass through the shopping centre each year. We want to give people more reason to stop, whether it is to do their daily shopping, take a moment to rest, have coffee, eat a meal or use one of the many specialised services available here,” Jäntti says. 

We want the safest and most inspiring routes to always pass through Citycenter.

The renewal has also brought a change in the structure and distribution of retail outlets on the K1 floor, with new services and brands to be introduced. 

The desire to create more sense of space in the corridors meant that the old ceiling grille had to go. The previously hidden large round lighting fixtures gained a new lease of life in the hands of a lighting designer.

“Examples of the retail operators on K1 include a pharmacy, Alko, the florist Piilola.fi, the hair salon Cutters, Fantasiapelit and the bookstore Rosebud. Returning tenants include Kuvatehdas and Arnolds. We will also bring interesting new brands and concepts to the K1 floor. More information on that will be provided later this year,” Jäntti reveals.

The safest routes go through Citycenter

According to Jäntti, safety and clear routes are also high priorities in the renewal of Citycenter, which is located in the heart of the city and connected to the Asematunneli tunnel.

The stylish new lighting fixtures have brass frames. The open ceiling structure replicates the industrial style used in the restaurant zone upstairs.  

“We have increased the sense of safety in our public facilities through the placement of shops and services as well as the use of lighting and making the space comfortable and attractive. There are many possible routes for accessing the public transport stations in the centre of Helsinki, and our goal is to make Citycenter the safest and most inspiring alternative.”

As part of the renewal project, we have also given the signage at the shopping centre a new appearance.

Development with a long-term approach

Sustainability is the foundation of the development of this Sponda-owned shopping centre.

The retailers at Citycenter are assisted by an environmental coordinator who helps develop the sustainability practices of client companies and provides guidance on issues such as the recycling of waste.

One interesting detail on the refurbished K1 floor is the golden longitude and latitude found on the floor of Citycenter.

In line with these principles, the renewal project has also been carried out with due consideration for the sustainability perspective. Recycled materials have been used as much as possible. One good example is the new-look wall lighting fixtures on the K1 floor.

We will introduce several interesting concepts and brands on the K1 floor.

Jäntti sees the renewal project as one step in the shopping centre’s long-term development. 

“We need to maintain a high level of awareness. We want to always be conscious of our customers’ wishes and the trends and innovations emerging around the world. We can then incorporate those ideas in our renewal efforts even quite quickly when necessary.”

Sponda, the owner of Citycenter, was selected as Europe’s best property sector company in the international GRESB 2019 sustainability survey.

Purchasing power is increasing in central Helsinki

The discussion related to shopping centres has recently been largely focused on new shopping centres, with Tripla, in particular, being seen as having the potential to create a new central business district around it. According to Professor of Practice Lasse Mitronen from Aalto University, a better description for what is happening is that the concept of the city centre is expanding and the commercial centre of the city is becoming increasingly focused on the central business district.

“Various urban centres may emerge, but the centre of Helsinki is not going to move anywhere. With its shops, restaurants and events, the city centre is a very vibrant area. People are used to visiting, passing through and consuming services in the city centre.

Mitronen says it is clear that competition between shopping centres in the Helsinki metropolitan area will become more intense. At the same time, however, increasing purchasing power and annual population growth of about 10,000 create new consumption potential for the shopping centres in the central business district.

“The bulk of the spending will take place at the shopping centres that serve their customers the best. Being located along commuting routes or close to people’s homes, good daily services, easy accessibility, interesting shops and the general comfort and attractiveness of the facilities will be the deciding factors in which shopping centres come out on top,” Mitronen concludes.


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