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Transformation of Ilmala – will Ilmala become the Silicon Valley of Helsinki

Ilmala, situated between the city centre and the Central Park of Helsinki and which got its name from a weather station, is growing rapidly to become a modern business and housing hub. The office spaces in the area attract especially innovative technology, marketing, tourism and media companies.

Pasila is becoming the second centre of Helsinki. At the same time, the adjacent city district of Ilmala is stealthily growing into a modern, urban business and housing hub. This transformation is due to the comprehensive modernisation of Pasila – there will be a new railway station, apartments, offices and a shopping centre built in the area. The Greater Pasila area is estimated to offer approximately 50,000 workplaces and to have approximately 30,000 residents by the early 2040s.

“The number of workplaces will double and the number of residents will triple compared to the current situation” says the City Executive Office Project Manager of Pasila area Niina Puumalainen.

A third of the new workplaces will be situated within 400 metres of the Ilmala railway station.

A district of creative and trendy companies

Already in 2017, the Ilmala railway station was used daily by nearly 5,000 people. This number will grow exponentially after the district expands further. Ilmala will become a part of the Helsinki Business District also due to the tram connections. Trams will reach Ilmala in the early 2020s when the route of the tram line 9 will be extended all the way to the Ilmalantori square.

The main square of the area, Ilmalantori, has become the heart of Ilmala and a traffic hub. This lively market square surrounded by office spaces offers an appealing retail space for restaurant and café entrepreneurs, and for other service companies searching for high customer volumes.

Modern office spaces in Pöllölaakso

Ilmala is rapidly turning into a hub of modern office spaces and apartments. This growth is based on the Pasila transformation and on the city plan changes in the Pöllölaakso or MTV area, which enable demolishing of the MTV business properties and building of residential apartment houses.

There already exists space for different media and creative sector operators in the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle area. Now, more versatile and modern office spaces will be built to meet the requirements of the companies.

Sweco was impressed by the transport connections

One of the newcomers of the Ilmala area is Sweco, an expert in the built environment and industry, that moved to the area a couple of years ago. Sweco wanted an office space which is easy for the customers and employees to reach even from farther away.

“Ilmala’s location within good public transport connections in the growing part of Helsinki was the determining factor when we searched for new office spaces that would bring together our thousand experts working in the Helsinki metropolitan area”, tells President of Sweco Finland Markku Varis.

The Sweco building developed by Sponda in Ilmalanrinne still has building rights for two new office buildings, in total 13,000 square metres. Sponda is planning a Forum Virium Center office building on the southern side of the new Ilmalantori which offers a total of 35,000 square metres of net floor space.

Markku Varis from Sweco thanks Sponda for the functional and ecological office space.

“For us it is important that our office spaces are ecological and support the co-operation between our experts and customers. After spending two years in Ilmala, we are pleased to say that this objective has been achieved”, says Markku Varis.

Next to the Helsinki Central Park – close to public services

More and more services are coming to the area. A kindergarten is planned to be built in the old Yle area and the Mall of Tripla will be completed in the vicinity. The increased number of services is important also to Sweco.

“The area is constantly being built further and the completion of Pasila will soon bring the versatile services close to our office”, tells President of Sweco Finland Markku Varis.

When the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle opens its park and outdoor areas that were previously closed from the public, it will be possible to stroll in a cultural landscape. Near Ilmala in the Helsinki Central Park, there is a dog park and the Ruskeasuo stables whose horses can be seen when exercising in the park.

The tourism sector desires Ilmala as well

The public transport connections in Ilmala are among the best ones in Helsinki. It is easy to travel from the Ilmala area to Helsinki city centre as well as to everywhere in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The multipurpose Hartwall Areena and the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre are within walking distance and the airport is also easily accessible. The opportunities provided by the location have made the hotel operators take a fresh look at the Ilmala railway station area.

“For hotel operators, the Ilmala railway station area is alluring, since the area will be visited by a growing number of people. There is no city plan required for the building of a hotel in the Northern Pasila or Ilmala area yet, but the interest of the hotel operators also advances tourism related plans”, says Puumalainen.

Brief history of Ilmala

Ilmala got its name from a weather station that has since been demolished to make space for a water tower. This is visible in the history of the area.

  • 1910 the weather station of the Finnish Meteorological Institute was built
  • 1927 Yle broadcasting centre was built, nowadays a protected site
  • 1959–1965 construction work of the studio part of the Yle TV production house
  • 1959 IImala 1, a water tower of 20,000 cubic metres of water was built.
  • 1967 MTV (Oy Mainos-TV-Reklam Ab) office building, ”Pöllölaakso”, was completed.
  • 1969 IImala 2, a water tower of 20,000 cubic metres of water was built.
  • 1983 Yle Pasila link tower was completed.
  • 1993 Yle Iso Paja opened.
  • 2015 Yle and VR sign an agreement on VR renting the majority of the Iso Paja spaces

Published 23.2.2018