Three grocery stores are closing in the center of Helsinki, sparking a discussion about the vitality of the center

Three grocery stores are closing in the center of Helsinki, sparking a discussion about the vitality of the center

Mika HeikkinenThe chain manager of HOK Elanto said that the trade cooperative decided not to renew the store leases because the coronavirus pandemic has led to a decrease in the number of visitors to the center and changes. people move from place to place.

– Big changes have taken place in the center, he told Helsingin Sanomat.

The news of the closure came as a surprise Marja-Leena RinkinevaDirector of Economic Development of the City of Helsinki.

“Stores live in constant change and are looking for their optimal location and opening hours,” he comment For Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday. “But it sounds very unfortunate – there’s no denying that. Closures are unfortunate if they are related to a decrease in customer numbers.

Read more:

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  • HS: Three factors point to a weakening of the vitality of the center of Helsinki (November 15, 2022)

Rinkineva said she was surprised by the news, especially since she had seen signs of revival in downtown areas earlier this year, even as the number of vacant commercial properties continued to rise. Although there is no exact information on the number of vacancies, last year it was estimated that 15.5 percent of commercial properties in the middle blocks were without tenants.

One possible factor complicating revitalization is the ongoing road repair projects in the city center, including the large projects of Esplanadi and Mannerheimintie, according to Rinkineva.

“They affect how people move,” he said.

The departure of small grocery stores has sparked a discussion about the weakening of the vitality of the center of Helsinki. Local decision-makers explained the phenomenon with the recent increase in remote and hybrid forms of work and the popularity of shopping centers built on the outskirts of the city center, such as Red and Mall of Tripla.

Elisa Gebhardt A member of the Helsinki City Council and Board of Directors (SDP) told Helsingin Sanomat that nearby shopping centers have reduced people’s need to visit the city center. “The core question is: what brings people downtown,” he said.

He agreed that changes in people’s movement habits explain the closure of key grocery stores. “Unfortunately, this reflects where people are moving. Stores are located wherever people are.”

Gebhard considered residential construction to be a key way to maintain the attractiveness and vitality of the city center. “In general, it is important that we purposefully build apartments here. […] It’s one way to get customers into grocery stores.”

accredited Otto Meri (NCP) identified the increase in remote work as the root cause of the withering of the center of Helsinki. He saw that it is important to attract both new residents and tourists to the area by creating additional attraction factors, because tourists in particular increase the potential purchasing power of the city center.

– Vitality does not come from the fact that the locals buy milk or cuts of meat, but rather that people look for unique experiences, services and come here to enjoy themselves, he reasoned.

Gebhard agreed, assessing that a center that offers experiences and enables people to enjoy themselves also attracts those who have no real business.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page

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