Varma has concluded a long-term lease agreement with Scandic Hotels concerning a property on Annankatu street in Helsinki. The property will be completely renovated into a modern, 350-room conference hotel. The lettable surface area of the building will be approximately 22,000 m².
Currently operating at Annankatu 18 is the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), whose lease agreement will expire at the end of this year, and the organisation will move to new premises. The future Scandic Avenue conference hotel will see the Annankatu property modernised to bring the building up to the latest technology and energy-efficiency standards.
“Annankatu 18 is a historically significant address for Varma. Originally built in several phases as the Tilgmann printing house, the property has also served as Varma’s offices for a long time. It is great that after ECHA relocates to new premises, we will be able to refurbish the building into a hotel, providing us stable, long-term income,” says Varma’s Head of Real Estate, Ilkka Tomperi.
The current buildings of the Annankatu site, which is located in Helsinki’s city centre, near the Old Church Park, were built in 1920. The clear and distinctive ornamental elements of the historically valuable building’s facade will come into play when building the hotel’s identity. The buildings along the street of the land plot are protected under town planning.
The site, originally built as premises for the printing house Tilgmann Oy, served as Varma’s head office from 1980 to 2008. The building was renovated and expanded in the late 1970s. When Varma’s head office transferred to Salmisaari in 2008, the premises were converted into an office building for ECHA.
“Helsinki has been lacking a larger conference hotel for some time now. When Scandic Avenue opens, we will be able to welcome guests and at the same time create an exciting new event venue in the heart of the city,” says Aki Käyhkö, Managing Director, Scandic Hotels Finland.
“We wish Scandic a warm welcome to Annankatu. The long life cycles of properties and the possibility to repurpose our buildings for alternative uses is important to Varma as a responsible investor,” adds Varma’s Commercial Property Director, Toni Pekonen.
Renovations on the building will start in spring 2020 and are expected to be completed in spring 2022. A BREEAM environmental certificate for the property will be applied for.