Cosy living in central locations
In Finland, we focus on residential construction in urban growth centres. In Russia, we are exploring opportunities to expand our residential construction to include other cities in addition to St Petersburg.
In 2013, we launched the construction of 1,815 (1,019) new, residential development units. We offer residences for consumers and for residential and other property investors in Finland and Russia.
We focus on urban growth centres
We have a broad range of plots that enables the rapid launch of new projects in the coming years, if necessary. Most of our plots are located in urban growth centres in Finland and in St Petersburg. Our presence in urban growth centres in Finland and our long-term local expertise help us find interesting plots for our new residential projects.
We primarily acquire plots that are located either in the city centre or near it in an area with good traffic connections. For example, in the Helsinki metropolitan area, we seek to acquire plots where our residential properties are located within walking distance to commuter or light rail stops.
Versatile housing production
In 2013, we continued to develop the Jätkäsaari area in Helsinki. This new residential area near the Baltic Sea and the centre of Helsinki has raised a lot of interest among. By 2016, we will have built approximately 430 apartments in the area. Currently, we are the only builder offering owner-occupied apartments in the area. At the end of the reporting year, we won a new plot from the City of Helsinki in an architectural competition. In the coming years, we will build low-rise apartment blocks on the plot.
We are also building apartments in the centre of Helsinki, in the Töölö Bay area. This central location will feature a unique combination of apartments, services and commercial premises. The residents of the first property moved into their new homes in February 2013, and the second property will be completed in spring 2014. Many people have been interested in the chance to live in a green central location in the heart of the city.
In spring 2013, we started the renovation, restoration and conversion into apartments of the Asunto Oy Helsingin Kivipalatsi premises in the centre of Helsinki. The renovation of this partly protected building is being carried out in cooperation with the Helsinki City Museum. In April 2014, a total of 28 new apartments will be completed in Kivipalatsi. We believe that the conversion of old commercial premises into residential use will increase in the future, especially in the fully built-up city centres.
We continued regional development in northern Finland by starting the construction of the fifth and final apartment block in the Rakka area in Rovaniemi and the second apartment block in the Louhi area in Oulu, in September 2013. Both areas are located near the city centre and our focus has been particularly on comfort, accessibility and low living costs.
In the autumn, we started the development of the Lehtoniemi area in Kuopio. In 2013–2015, we will build 79 owner-occupied apartments and one property consisting of rental apartments. The area is located near outdoor recreation areas, which makes living there even more comfortable.
Interest in Finnish construction in Russia
In 2013, we started new residential project in St Petersburg. The first phase of the Tapiola project consists the construction of 339 apartments along the Obvodny canal near Moskovsky Prospekt. We also continued the construction of the 470-apartment Aino apartment block on Vasilyevsky Island.
In the St Petersburg market, being Finnish is one of the key differentiators. Our primary target group is the increasingly wealthy Russian middle class that appreciates Finnish reliability, quality and functional floor plans. For our customers, this means energy efficiency, high-quality sound and water insulation as well as modern automation systems. Our residential construction has been of interest to property investors, too.
In order to improve our service, we have negotiated on financial arrangements with several local banks to improve the availability of mortgages to our customers. The apartment under construction can be used as a security of the mortgage.
We also operate as a residential contractor in Russia. In 2013, we expanded our operation to the Moscow region as we signed an agreement with the Russian company OOO Mikrorayon Kantri on the construction of a 46-house residential area in the city of Istra near Moscow. The masterplanning, design and construction of the area will emphasise Nordic comfort of living, energy efficiency and quality. We will also construct the infrastructure, road network and landscaping in the area. In addition, we are building an elite residential building for Tetra Invest in Kamennyi Ostrov, St Petersburg.
We have our own housing sales organisation in Finland and Russia. Working in cooperation with the housing sales organisation, our alteration engineers help our customers to find the desired space solutions and surface materials in their new home. At the same time, our customers constantly receive up-to-date information about the progress of the construction process. In addition, our customers may use the online Nettikoti tool to manage the alterations to their home. Our goal is to have this option available in each of our major apartment block projects in Finland.