Unioninkatu 20–22 property in Kaartinkaupunki has always lived with the times. The block was originally built as the head office of Postipankki, and today, it is a busy hub of financial companies and business life and an event centre.
Unioninkatu 20–22 has seen Finnish society grow and develop from close up. This was one of the first streets in Helsinki. The section between the Market Square and the Senate Square dates from the 17th century. Back then, the street was called Västra Kyrkogatan after the church.
Unioninkatu 20–22 is located in the Turtle block, and it covers the entire block between Unioninkatu and Fabianinkatu. The block and its many extensions were completed in 1943–1969.
In addition to Postipankki, the block has also housed the Finnish State Treasury. Many influential figures in the Finnish economic life have walked the hallways of this building. One of the lifts is called “Manu’s lift” after president Mauno Koivisto.
The oldest section of the block was built for the Postisäästöpankki bank during the Continuation War in 1943. The building was designed by Antero Pernaja, professor of architecture, and it was located in the corner of the Pohjoinen Makasiinikatu and Fabianinkatu streets (at Fabianinkatu 19).
The first extension was built only two years later, in 1945, when Postisäästöpankki’s business started to grow strongly in the post-war reconstruction era.
Demand for credits was high, and most of the loans were awarded for new construction projects or to house-buyers. People also started to save money more systematically than before. Employers started to pay wages to bank accounts instead of in cash.
Soon, the bank outgrew its office space in the original building and the extension. A new local detailed plan was approved in 1953, and with the new plan, the plots on Fabianinkatu 19 and Unioninkatu 20 were merged together. Unioninkatu 20 had previously housed the Musiikkiopisto building where the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle started its operations in the 1920s. This was the plot were the new extension of Postisäästöpankki was built.
The six-floor extension was designed by Antero Pernaja and completed at the end of 1954. The architectural design of the new extension was modern, and with its yellow glass tile exterior, the new building looked different from the old, although both were designed by the same architect. The extension housed, for instance, a spacious bank hall where the cash office of the bank moved to.
In 1969, Postisäästöpankki (since 1970 known as Postipankki) received a third new building, which was completed on a former residential plot at Unioninkatu 22.
Flexible spatial solutions
Postipankki sold the building complex to Sponda in the late 1990s, but remained Sponda’s tenant for some time after the sales. Sponda renovated the properties, preserving their old charm.
One of the preserved details was the Sä relief by Gunnar Finne. It was removed from the exterior wall of Fabianinkatu 19 for renovation and reattached. At the same time, the damages caused by the bombing in February 1944 to the corner of Fabianinkatu were repaired.
The Unioninkatu 20–22 property comprises over 16,000 m2 of office space and over 3,000 m2 of retail space. The sizes of the spaces range from a few square metres to thousands of square metres. Some of the office spaces have windows and terraces overlooking the sea.
The main entrance is on Unioninkatu. The former bank hall is located on the ground floor, and the imposing entrance hall is nicknamed the Wall Street. The tall, two-storey high space currently serves as a restaurant owned by Event Arena Bank.
The dining hall is surrounded by a balcony that has original railings, plus a safety railing that was built in the 2000s. There is still some original, light marble walling in the hall, and a 1954 glass relief by Yrjö Rosola.
Everything is close by
Unioninkatu 20–22 is within a short walking distance from the Market Square, the seashore, and the many boutique hotels and premium restaurants in the area. Pleasant parks and the Old Market Hall are located near the property.
According to Anna Vuorinen, Account Manager at Sponda, the premium property is particularly suited for companies who appreciate good traffic connections, flexible and modifiable spaces and being close to services. Currently, the building houses embassies and a number of financial and marketing companies. Krogerus Attorneys Ltd is the largest tenant.
There are also companies with a Business Studio agreement with Sponda on the property. The Business Studio concept is a service package that covers an office or offices and shared facilities, such as a lobby, meeting rooms, kitchen and bathroom facilities.