Leppävaara – the number one workplace and residential area in Espoo – attracts more working and living year after year. “We are now in the growth centre of the metropolitan area,” Project Director, Leppävaara Area Mika Rantala of the City of Espoo says. NCC’s development project OOPS is located in the same centre, with new office buildings currently being planned there.
Owing to its rapid growth during the recent years Leppävaara has become the largest and most vibrant city centre of Espoo, and one of the most attractive business sites in the metropolitan area. Leppävaara is a highly popular workplace and residential area.
”The population of Espoo grew by 4400 persons last year which by far exceeds the population growth in Helsinki or Vantaa. In the greater Leppävaara area alone, the population was up by 1900, while the corresponding figure for entire Helsinki was approximately 1500,” Rantala says.
”The vitality rates for the period 2018-2021 show that Leppävaara is the most vital growth area and the biggest commercial centre of Espoo. I believe this is a continuous trend: Leppävaara is attractive now, and it will become even more attractive in the future,” Rantala reckons.
What was good before is now downright delicious
The growth will be mainly focused in the Hatsinanpuisto area, and it will expand the present Leppävaara centre to the eastern side of Ring Road I and along the Monikonpuro brook. The new area will rejuvenate Leppävaara from the viewpoints of working, shopping, living and experiences.
According to Rantala, the key advantage of Leppävaara is its traffic-wise location: “It was good before, but now it is downright delicious. The current and future development will enhance the commercial role and attractive power of Leppävaara for both business spaces and workplaces.”
Leppävaara is easy to reach, no matter if you take the train, bus or the car – and the situation gets even better. The Raide-Jokeri light rail route between Itäkeskus of Helsinki and Keilaniemi, Espoo to be launched in 2024 will improve the area’s cross-wise connectivity and accelerate the development of new projects in Leppävaara. The city rail will also be extended from Leppävaara to Kauklahti.
”Once the Raide-Jokeri light rail connection is complete, OOPS will get a tram stop of its own,” Rantala establishes.
Diversified and multi-faceted urban environment
The big picture of Espoo’s future development holds extensive plans to connect to the parks, recreation and spare time areas of Helsinki. Co-operation between the two cities has a lot of potential which Rantala could use. Similar plans also being made concerning the Hatsinanpuisto area.
“The Leppävaara pedestrian route to pass through the railway station tunnel and OOPS is included in the area development plans. The route can be extended into a link between the Leppävaara sports park and the sports facilities of Vermo. In addition, the present main route could be connected in the bigger picture to the Espoo shorefront route,” Rantala explains, and continues:
“One of our development targets is to be profiled as a diverse, multi-faceted urban environment. We want to develop high-quality, attractive urban space consisting of original, well-connected sub-areas, business spaces, workplaces, homes and a wide range of services.”
Sustainability in the core of development work
The future of the greater Leppävaara area seems bright. According to the latest demographics, the population is 72,500, and the target for 2040 is set for 100,000 residents. The area presently houses about one fourth of the workplaces of entire Espoo, and the number is growing constantly. Rantala thinks that the growth will continue.
“Although Leppävaara already is one of the busiest junctions in the metropolitan area, we must further develop its attractive power. For example, we are developing the railway station area where the services will be more readily available and changing from one vehicle to another will go even smoother. This will also mean more park-and-ride facilities and a highly workable bicycle parking with charging stations,” Rantala says.
”Sustainability is of essence in the development work which will show as a densified city scape, electrified public traffic and improved light traffic routes.”
Area development goals fulfilled
”OOPS is a match with the City of Espoo views regarding the long-term area development goals. We have done a lot of development work in co-operation, charting the viewpoints of both the city dwellers and office tenants,” Project Manager Markus Pahikkala says.
Completed last autumn, the construction of OOPS buildings A and B will be complemented by office buildings C, D and E, a hotel and a local centre for diverse daily services, spare time and sports facilities. According to Pahikkala the first phase already gives tangible proof of a positive reception.
An essential attraction in the area is the Monikonpuro brook with its natural values being developed between the Hatsinanpuisto and OOPS building sites. The development work has required a considerable effort and quality input from the parties involved.
”The area development plans have been responded to, and success has been made in developing the area brand in line with the starting point of the planning work. The feedback received also proves that Leppävaara and Hatsinanpuisto have attractive power.”
Genuinely inclusive planning
The resident community are widely and continuously included in the development work of Leppävaara. This means open interaction, such as regularly held, low-threshold resident meetings and a Facebook group.
A city-planning platform that translates as ‘The Task in Leppävaara’ helps people perceive the planning and construction projects of the area as well as gather the residents’ ideas and views of the local citizens in support of the planning work. The easy-use browser-based 3D tool puts development projects on display for the city dwellers.
“The people must be able to feel that they, and their views, are genuinely being considered. It is important and rewarding that everyone should have their say. Comfortable city spaces have grown all more meaningful for the residents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rantala emphasises.
What is OOPS?
- OOPS (Oasis of Professionals) is an area built for working, shopping, accommodation, sports, entertainment and experiences in Hatsinanpuisto of Leppävaara, along the Monikonpuro brook.
- The first office buildings A and B were completed in autumn 2021. The next office developments C, D and E are in the planning phase.
- Figures: 20,000 (phases AB) + 16,000 (phases CDE) sq. m. of office space, 30,000 sq. m. of retail and experiences and an 11,000 sq. m. hotel.
- Buildings A and B environmentally certified as BREEAM Excellent.