The Mall of Tripla, which is being built in Pasila, is a prime example of a shopping centre of the future. It is more than just a commercial venue – it brings its surroundings to life.
Are shopping centres becoming outdated? Do consumers expect to have more than just a giant hall packed with retail space?
Yes, they do, says Pirjo Aalto, Commercial Development Director. She predicts rough times for traditional shopping centres – despite the fact that it is her job to develop the Mall of Tripla in Pasila.
However, the uncertain prospects of shopping centres are not the whole picture. For example, the Mall of Tripla is much more than just a shopping centre. It will be more like a miniature city within the city, an urban centre that brings new energy to Helsinki. Of course, Tripla will offer ample retail space, but also offices, residential space, all kinds of services and experiences, and the largest restaurant complex in Finland. There will also be non-commercial spaces where one does not have to buy anything.
Aalto highlights the importance of the atmosphere and the general appeal of the centre. Modern urban centres are excellent environments for relaxation and pampering.
Often, discussions on retail space present shopping centres and street-level brick-and-mortar shops as mutually exclusive alternatives. The criticism on peripheral shopping centres that can only be accessed with a car is well justified.
Modern shopping centres, on the other hand, are built in central locations, in areas where people move about. The Mall of Tripla is a good example of this. Approximately 80,000 passengers use Pasila Railway Station every day, and this number will increase to 140,000 in the near future and to almost 200,000 after the metro reaches Pasila.
Tripla will offer 7,000 jobs and 1,000 apartments. There will also be 430 hotel rooms, accommodating up to 1,000 guests.
We could not serve such a large number of people in street-level boutiques; there simply wouldn't be enough streets.
Both street-level shops and shopping centres
Kalle Soini, Head of Tripla architectural planning at Soini & Horto Oy, points out that the shopping centre model is still viable from the point of view of trade; for example, the synchronised logistics, customer flows and energy economy yield better results with a smaller input.
“Finding a range of services in one place makes things easier and faster also for the customer,” Soini reminds us.
Juha Kostiainen, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Urban Development at YIT, also emphasises the benefits of efficiency and improved service. Many of us lead busy lives, and we must be able to get our daily essentials quickly.
On the other hand, Finnish cities are sparsely populated. It is possible to arrange diverse services within walking distance in areas with a housing density of 15,000 residents per square kilometre. There are two areas that meet this criterion in Finland: Kallio and Punavuori in Helsinki.
“Shopping centres make up for this structural issue by generating higher customer volumes, which can in turn attract international brands.”
However, Kostiainen does not see brick-and-mortar shops and shopping centres as mutually exclusive. According to him, both are needed, and for example, an excellent specialist shop will attract customers in each case, whether it is located at street-level or in a shopping centre.
Tripla’s identity takes Pasila to the next level
Dan Mollgren, Project Manager at Helsinki City Executive Office, points out that the quality of public space is what makes shopping centres attractive also in the future. Particular attention should be paid to public transport connections and to magnets that pull people to the area.
Mollgren says that all kinds of services can become effective magnets, such as a square that showcases art or the best nightclub in town.
“Architecture is also important. The more I learn about successful centres, the more obvious it has become that the first thing they have in common is premium architecture. Architecture appeals to tenants and consumers alike,” Mollgren says.
According to Kalle Soini, the architecture of Tripla pays tribute to the architectural traditions in Helsinki in a futuristic and even playful way.
“Tripla has a strong, distinct identity that will take the entire Central Pasila to the next level,” Soini promises.
Railway Station is also a service
Helsinki is currently undergoing an unprecedented construction boom. The residents of Helsinki are well aware of the scarcity of housing, but will the numerous new commercial facilities find their tenants and customers?
“Many commercial surveys have identified a clear gap in services in northern Helsinki. The commercial centres that are currently under construction will fill this gap partly,” Mollgren says.
He refers to commercial trending surveys that classify operators as winners and losers. All the winners have a good, well-chosen location.
Tripla’s location could not be better, but it takes more than just a good location to make the place appealing. Aalto from YIT says that the company came up with the concept of Tripla after thorough brainstorming on how to make the shopping centre more appealing. The ideas ranged from consumer demographics to attractiveness surveys.
“We designed different atmospheres for different functions and segments. For example, Little Manhattan on the fourth floor is full of life, like a local marketplace, whereas High Street on the third floor is more intimate with laid-back dining venues and terraces.”
It is important to ensure easy navigation and clear spaces in order to attract passers-by from the station to visit the centre. One way to increase the appeal of the place is to offer experiences and surprises. In Tripla, one such experience will be the Finnish Music Hall of Fame that was inspired by the Abba museum.
Architect Sami Maukonen from design company Amerikka says that the users’ perspective was immensely important in the design process. This perspective is evident in all spatial planning at Tripla, including the materials. Selecting the materials carefully can also help people to find their way around the massive Tripla.
“Throughout the design process, it has been clear for us that we are not creating a railway station and a shopping centre, but one urban centre that also offers a railway station as a service. The corridor that connects these two elements received particular attention in the design process.”
Maukonen emphasises the importance of making the services easy to use: If you are busy, you can just stop by at one of the shops near the entrance and the station. But if you have more time, why not venture in and enjoy the centre’s many services and events.
Modern camp fire
In Soini’s view, the social importance of shopping centres should be taken into account in all profitability forecasts.
Digitalisation does not eliminate the human need to meet other people. And ideally, we should be able to meet each other without getting wet or cold.
“Shopping centres are modern marketplaces that serve as an important forum for social interaction. Digitalisation might change the services offered at shopping centres, but it will not change their function as modern campfires.”
The new centre of Helsinki is a three-block complex, including a parking hall, shopping centre, public transport hub, apartments, hotels and offices.
Tripla will be completed in phases during 2019–2021.
It is ideally located along the Ring Rail Line that connects to Helsinki Airport, the City Rail Loop, and the Veturitie road that is currently being renovated. Hartwall Arena and Messukeskus Helsinki are also located nearby.
Highly attractive venue: almost half of the premises are already rented out.
For further information, please contact:
Pirjo Aalto, Commercial Development Director, YIT Construction Ltd, tel. +35850 500 2013, firstname.lastname@example.org
Heidi Kauppinen, Communications Manager, YIT Construction Ltd, tel. +358 40 574 3170, email@example.com
Hanna Malmivaara, Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +35840 561 6568, firstname.lastname@example.org
YIT creates better living environment by developing and constructing housing, business premises, infrastructure and entire areas. Our vision is to bring more life in sustainable cities. We want to focus on caring for customer, visionary urban development, passionate execution and inspiring leadership. Our growth engine is urban development involving partners. Our operating area covers Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. In 2016, our revenue amounted to nearly EUR 1.8 billion, and we employ about 5,300 employees. Our share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. www.yitgroup.com