Helsinki boasts one of the world’s most talented workforces and the local companies are big on R&D and innovation. For example, 87,000 ICT professionals in Helsinki have advanced programming skills. Helsinki is also a clean, stable and secure city with a very high standard of living – and this holds true for the City Centre, as well.
Helsinki City Centre is the largest uniform office area in the country and an important hub for business and commerce both nationally and internationally. In the downtown area, there are 1,600,000 floor square metres of office, commercial and customer service premises. The demand for space here is the highest in the land; vacancy rate is among the lowest.
According to figures from 2017, there was growth in all sectors of business in Helsinki, with the most robust growth in construction and services. Similarly, in 2017 the Helsinki Region population grew the fastest since the mid-1960s (adding 20,000 people, of which half in Helsinki).
The ‘European Cities and Regions of the Future’ study by fDI Intelligence declared Greater Helsinki “the most promising investment location in Europe” in 2018. Greater Helsinki was the winner in the FDI strategy category when comparing small regions.
Proactive planning strengthens the competitive edge of the entire City Centre. The City officials want to boost both business and residential development here.
In the downtown area, business, commerce and culture come together like nowhere else in Finland. The diverse activities support each other and add to steady customer flows. The City Centre retail services, for one, are essential to the local residents as well as to commuters. There are, for instance, several hotel projects under way in the downtown area. Furthermore, the City has a big pedestrian emphasis in the City Centre, as walkability is a major part of the “Helsinki user experience”.
One example of the local entrepreneurial mentality is business hub Maria 01, an old, decommissioned hospital which turned into a world-class startup dream. Launched in 2016, the ”startup heaven” has already made its mark in the ecosystem; there are almost a hundred startups residing at Maria 01, with 10,000 square meters at their disposal.
Helsinki’s drive to keep evolving is evidenced by development projects such as Tori Quarters and Töölö Bay revitalisation.
Tori Quarters – the key blocks between Market Square and Senate Square – are being turned into an exciting new signature area, an urban action hub with plenty of room for commercial players.
A little taste of novel approaches in services in the City Centre is provided by Allas Sea Pool, located a stone’s throw away from the Market Square. Allas Sea Pool is a one-of-a-kind oasis in the middle of the city, featuring several saunas, swimming pools and restaurant.
Töölö Bay, on the other hand, is already a popular outdoor and recreational area and home to many major companies. As it stands, new residential and office buildings constructed next to railway tracks in the Töölö Bay area are finished.
Oodi, the Central Library, will be open in December 2018. The new Töölö Bay Park opened in 2016, bordering on Töölönlahdenkatu street to the south, the Töölö Bay to the north, the Karamzin street area to the west, and the Alvar Aallon katu street as well as the new residential and office buildings to the east. The land area in question is about 9.5 hectares. The park area in front of Oodi will be a vibrant location for events, civic participation and just hanging around.