A significant milepost was reached on Finland’s largest construction site in Pasila when shopping centre Mall of Tripla celebrated its topping out ceremony on 25 January.
On a January afternoon, around thousand guests gathered to celebrate Helsinki’s second urban centre. Tables were laid for them in the shopping centre’s supermarket floor. In addition to the construction site’s personnel, the guests included future tenants, designers and representatives of most important stakeholders.
Pea soup, rye bread and beer were offered to the guests in accordance with the Finnish traditions of topping out ceremonies. The premises were lit in an atmospheric way, and young jazz musicians Iina Johansson and Jon Pettersson were responsible for filling the air with sweet sounds.
The opening speech of the event was given by Mayor Jan Vapaavuori who presented the greetings of the City of Helsinki. Vapaavuori said that Mall of Tripla and the Pasila train station to be completed in 2019 mark a starting point of building a new Pasila.
“Central Pasila will become a lively and enthrallingly unique neighbourhood where streams of people encounter around the clock. The high-quality architecture is distinctive, which transforms Pasila into an easily recognisable area that sticks in people’s minds. People want to come back to see it again.”
Vapaavuori emphasises how, when completed, Mall of Tripla will support Pasila as an ecological urban centre.
“Pasila will transform into a tightly-knit, mixed area based on public transport for pedestrians and cyclists. The neighbourhood’s carbon footprint will be small. Central Pasila will be the first neighbourhood in Helsinki with predetermined ecological requirements and objectives. The realisers of the Tripla project have decided to commit to even tighter criteria than the goals and requirements set by the state and city.”
Vapaavuori also reminded the audience of the project’s massive effect on the economy and employment.
“Already in the design and construction phase, Tripla and the infrastructure projects in Central Pasila employ hundreds of professionals and, when completed, Tripla will be the workplace of thousands of people. The project also plays an integral role in reaching the objective of having 25,000 new jobs in Pasila.”
The construction of Tripla has advanced to the frame erection phase in all three blocks, and it has already reached the level of the Pasilansilta Bridge. Interior work is carried out on three floors of Mall of Tripla. The construction site becomes more visible in the cityscape day by day as the framework of the blocks is raised to the skies and cranes hoisting up elements reach new heights.
Senior Project Director Tapio Salo says that the project that started in 2014 has advanced in an excellent manner. Completing the frame of the shopping centre and having now two warm floors is a significant milepost.
“We are two months ahead of schedule, which is a great accomplishment as this area isn’t the easiest for construction. We were doing the foundation work of the new Pasila train station and built the temporary station, and not a single train was late because of us. We now have one thousand people working on the site. The atmosphere has been excellent throughout the project.”
Salo praises the crew that has unyieldingly pushed the project forward, no matter what the weather.
“Yesterday we were fighting in a snowstorm. During the night, the weather changed completely as the snow melted and rain and wind drove against the building. The construction workers are a dynamic crew, and this celebration is for them.”
Mall of Tripla has 85,000 square metres of leasable area for approximately 250 actors, and it will be the largest shopping centre in Finland when calculated by the number of business premises. Already almost 70 percent of the business premises have been leased.
“We still have work to do and space for great actors but this is a remarkable number that describes how much people believe in us,” says Pirjo Aalto, Commercial Development Director.
Aalto reminds that shopping centres are still the most popular places for shopping in Finland. In addition to everyday shopping, they offer experiences that consumers crave.
“Weather isn’t an issue at a shopping centre and buying is easy when you can find everything you need under one roof. People don’t just shop at shopping centres but they come looking for experiences, whether it’s culture, food or well-being. At Mall of Tripla, 15 percent of the area is reserved for experiential services.”
Tripla’s most recent tenants include the pan-Baltic cinema chain Cinamon and the parish hall of the new Töölö Parish. Both will further strengthen the experiential services at Tripla. When completed, the parish hall will be a 500-square-metre church for the people of Pasila where weddings, concerts, youth events and plenty of other gatherings will take place. The parish will be the second largest Evangelical-Lutheran parish in Helsinki right after that of Malmi.
Vicar of the Meilahti Parish and the future Töölö Parish Hannu Ronimus sees this as a historic opportunity.
“In Finnish, there is a proverb about making compromises according to which the church should be in the middle of the village, and at Tripla, if somewhere, this proverb becomes reality. The presence of the parish communicates that life has different dimensions, layers that complement each other and create an entity. If we at Tripla can serve people comprehensively, I believe that we are about to create something that has never before been achieved in Finland. Tripla can truly transform into a significance centre.”
The interest in the shopping centre has been great since the planning of the project as Tripla is located in the busiest public transport hub in Finland, in the heart of large event centres.
Mall of Tripla will be opened in autumn 2019 together with the parking facility and the new Pasila train station. The project company that is the developer of Mall of Tripla is owned by YIT, Ilmarinen, Conficap and Fennia.