Known as Finland’s technology hub, the Otaniemi–Keilaniemi area is growing into a diverse business cluster where the higher education sector and businesses find new ways to spur each other on – while local residents are also satisfied.
The past few years have been a period of transformation for the Otaniemi–Keilaniemi area, which is recognised as a significant technology cluster even on the European scale, and there are more changes to come. According to Tapiola Project Director Antti Mäkinen, the guiding principle of the development efforts is the diversification of the area.
“The goal is to develop this technology-oriented business cluster into an innovation hub that attracts companies, students and researchers in various fields while also being a residential area where people enjoy their lives with convenient access to local services,” Mäkinen says.
Major steps have already been taken in the area’s development. One of the most significant changes has been Aalto University relocating its main campus to Otaniemi.
“The diversifying area is attracting businesses from various industries, students and, increasingly, residents.”
“Multi-disciplinary and international, the university enriches the area’s atmosphere and creates new synergies between the business and higher education sectors,” Mäkinen explains.
The metro and the Raide-Jokeri light rail boost growth
Another factor that has enriched the area is the improved public transport connections. The Western Metro Extension connects the area seamlessly with the Helsinki metropolitan area and the Raide-Jokeri light rail line will make Otaniemi–Keilaniemi the western hub of rail transport.
“The services that are emerging around the metro stations and seaside boulevards will bring lively urban culture to the area. Closed to through traffic, the centre of Otaniemi features a plaza that is full of life and will one day be served only by the light rail system,” Mäkinen says.
The aim is that larger-scale services will continue to be provided in Tapiola. The plans for services in Otaniemi and Keilaniemi consist of local services that will benefit businesses, students and local residents.
“The area is a mixture of an architecturally impressive university campus and the world of high-growth business.”
The local environment will be made more appealing by a large green zone to be built above Ring I, which will be rerouted into a tunnel between Tapiola and Keilaniemi.
The most significant business cluster in Finland
The Keilaniemi area, in particular, is known for the high-rise head offices of international corporations.
“It is said that half of the turnover of the Helsinki stock exchange comes from companies based in Keilaniemi, which illustrates the significance of this area to Finland’s entire business sector and competitiveness,” Mäkinen points out.
The Project Director also considers smaller start-ups and high-growth companies as important factors in driving the growth of the area.
“Businesses representing various industries and the university form an ecosystem in which different businesses enrich and feed each other. We can expect that the area’s increasingly pluralistic climate will create new business even more effectively than before and inspire companies to achieve rapid growth,” Mäkinen adds.
New residents and land reclaimed from the sea
While the area is known for its high concentration of jobs, the goal is to also attract new residents to the area to increase its vitality. There are plans for homes for 7,500 people in Otaniemi and four high-rise residential buildings are planned for Keilaniemi. The renewal of the high-rise that is the former head office of Fortum is also in the works.
The plans for new construction include building that will be some of the tallest in Finland. Such as a 158-metre office and hotel tower, located right on the shore in Keilaniemi.
“New co-operation between businesses and the university drives growth and creates innovation.”
Contrary to what people might think, construction in Keilaniemi is not limited by a lack of space. According to Mäkinen, the conditions in the area make it possible to reclaim land from the sea. Nevertheless, the plan is to retain the area’s character, and the development is focused on complementing what is already there.
“We have already accomplished a lot, but we’re only getting started with the development of this area,” Mäkinen says.
Architect students’ former workspaces are now office premises!
- The Sponda-owned property on Miestentie was converted into office space in a project that was completed in autumn 2018.
- Two floors of the property are still vacant, each with an area of 1,345 square metres that can be divided into smaller units.
- The bright and spacious premises were formerly used as workspace for Aalto University’s architecture students.
- The property offers a cost-effective alternative to the new office buildings being constructed around it.
- The property is located in the heart of the business cluster, in the immediate vicinity of the architecturally impressive university campus.
- The property includes plenty of classroom space, which makes it well suited for organisations in the training and education sector as well as the university’s partner businesses.
- Excellent transport connections (approx. 200 metres from the nearest metro station, good bus connections, with further improvements to come in the form of the Raide-Jokeri light rail line and the underpass that will provide access to the Keilaniemi side, scheduled to be completed in summer 2019).
- There is a wide range of restaurants, accommodation and well-being services in the area, with the Keilaniemi business parks and the A Bloc shopping centre nearby.