THE KONEPAJA TRAIN FACTORY PROJECT
The Konepaja Train Factory project – a project under development by GVA Sawyer and partners in the center of Helsinki.
The Konepaja Train Factory, known in Finnish as Pasilan Konepaja, is a complex of three industrial buildings, two of which are listed historical buildings, located in the central part of Helsinki. Established in 1903, the Train Factory built the passenger and cargo cars for the Finnish National Railways (VR) until well into the 1990’s. The Train Factory played a key role in meeting post war reparations and in the heady days of industrialization after the war.
As an industrial estate, Train Factory is a uniquely beautiful expression of its era and a Helsinki landmark — one of the most famous industrial buildings in Finland.
The Factory consists of three buildings:
The Assembly Hall (13,154m2 gross external);
– The Paint Shop (6,208m2 gross external); and
– The Electric Train Hall (6,892m2 gross external).
The two historic buildings, the Assembly Hall and Paint Shop, built in 1903, are beautiful examples of early 20th century industrial architecture. They are constructed of structural red brick on brick and stone piers and wooden piles.
The area is recognized as an increasingly important business hub with a good range of residential accommodation. World Headquarter campuses have already been completed for Nordea Bank and OP Trust, with media companies now starting to cluster in the neighborhood. The MTV Group is currently moving in to the Konepaja area with many other companies considering a move once suitable accommodation is available. An array of high-quality apartment buildings have been built around the site as has the innovative boutique Folks Hotel.
In 2016 the industrial district and its buildings were discovered by the former US Ambassador to Finland, Mr. Bruce Oreck & his business partners. Driven by a deep respect for the area’s past, the partners embarked on a mission of developing the district into a new and exciting urban cultural oasis.
The aim of the project is to redevelop the Assembly Hall and the Paint Shop into a forward-looking creative retail and office/craftsmanship/light industrial center, street food market, and events platform with a mix of uses which reinforce each other to make the factory into an intense center of creative and community life with footfall of several million annually. The Train Factory will become a place that brings people together in an atmosphere of creativity and fun. A place that combines workspaces with sports, theatre, music, unique events, inspiring food and drink, a place that is bubbling with ideas and life in the day and at night.
Leasable area of the buildings will be increased using new created mezzanine space.
The developers also aim to obtain planning permissions to allow the construction of a high rise hotel and office buildings on the nearly one hectare site of the Electric Train Hall. The Electric Train Hall site will also include a parking sufficient to provide required and desirable parking capacity for the entire complex. New buildings constructed in place of the Electric Train Hall will be in character with the rest of the complex and will reinforce and enhance its character and image.
Design work by the general designer of the project AHR Global is in progress, reconstruction works in parts of the buildings leased to tenants started in March 2020.
The renovation of the 1st phase is nearing completion with the National Theatre being completed this month, the Bille Beino Padel Courts open and operating well, with a best in class Lidl supermarket under construction, and with events being put on by No Fear and food and beverage being operated by the Corona Bar and Train Factory Food and Libations. One can also get his hair cut at The Container Barbers.
Working closely with the City and the Finnish Heritage Agency, all windows and the 2.5 hectare roof are sensitively being replaced whilst all the roads and the adjacent park are close to final restoration.
The extensive, external courtyard between the former Paint Shop and Assembly Hall will increasingly be used for gatherings and events in the summer months.
It is expected that the historic buildings will be fully renovated by December 2022.
Train Factory and the whole district will develop strongly even after the current building phases are completed, beyond 2022.
The long-term plan includes a new high-class hotel and a modern office tower, both of which will complement the historic buildings and are much sought after by forward-thinking operators.