Finland’s largest experience and event centre envisioned to be constructed in Turku’s rail yard and train station area. The total cost for this project is estimated to be approximately €480 million. The Turun Ratapiha (“Turku rail yard”) project is a property and urban development concept for the 2020s, combining top-level technology and service design to create world-class experiences and events and, most importantly, to benefit the daily lives of Turku’s residents.

What is the plan about?

  • An internationally prominent experience and event centre will be constructed in Turku’s rail yard area.
  • The experience centre will support family-holiday tourism, and the plans include an indoor amusement park and a playground.
  • The multipurpose arena will be the heart of event organisation and host Finnish and international events, such as concerts, business events, eSports, festivals and ice sports events.
  • In addition, the area will have offices, sports facilities, business premises for basic everyday needs and a hotel, among other things.
  • The area will also have a We Foundation building, i.e. a centre for shared activities preventing social exclusion among children and youth.
  • When the city centre expands into Turku’s rail yard, it will create a new neighbourhood of approximately 1,000 residents.
  • The goal is to fund this €480 million project mainly with private money.

The preparatory survey for the Turun Ratapiha project has been concluded.The aim of the project is to create a domestically and internationally attractive experience and event concentration in Turku. The core of the plans is formed by an experience centre, catering for family holidays, and a new multipurpose arena with around 10,000 seats, particularly intended for ice sports. In addition to sports events, the arena would hold concerts and other large-scale public events. The plan is to build a tower hotel in the area to support tourism.

“We want to be part of developing Turku as an attractive centre for business and trade, housing, culture and tourism. The Turun Ratapiha project provides an excellent opportunity for the comprehensive development of our home city,” say Ilkka Paananen, Mikko Kodisoja and Saku Koivu.

“When realised, this venture will also create world-class conditions for HC TPS’s operation and a capacity for it to develop into a top-level European club, and other operators in the field from near and far will seek to learn from its operating environment. This will create an opportunity to take big steps in developing ice hockey and other sports in Turku,” the trio continues.

Paananen, Kodisoja and Koivu are members in the working group in charge of the preparatory survey for the project, and the other members are Timo Everi and Project Manager Ilkka Kilpimaa. The working group was also in charge of the survey costs. The preparatory survey was conducted in cooperation with VR Group, which initiated the project.

Turku’s rail yard to become a world-class event centre

When combined with Turku’s city centre structure, the city’s future vision, Logomo and Gatorade Center, the Turun Ratapiha project will provide the city with a competitive centre for organising different types of events. Simultaneously, the citizens of Turku will gain access to even better sports facilities.

“The rail yard remains the most central, albeit a partly unused area, in Turku, a so-called brown field site. Turku lacks an internationally attractive centre that would provide the setting for various events and year-round family holidays. Logomo has done brilliant work in transforming Turku into a city of events, and now this development work should be carried on,” says Aleksi Randell, the Mayor of Turku.

The project’s preparatory survey will function as the development plan, which will initiate the concrete discussions between the different parties involved in realising the project. When the city centre expands into Turku’s rail yard, it will also create a new neighbourhood of approximately 1,000 residents.

“Currently, much of the area is no longer in VR Group’s use, and various options have been debated with the city on how the rail yard could be developed. We are extremely pleased to have reached an operationally and financially viable solution, which will also be heavily based on Turku’s visions on how the city should be developed,” says VR Group’s Real Estate Manager Ari Mäkinen.

More jobs and tax revenue

According to the project plan, the construction work in Turku’s rail yard area will mainly be carried out with private funds. The total investment amount will be roughly €480 million. The goal for annual visits is approximately 5 million.

The project would have a significant impact on employment and tax revenue: based on the estimates made in the preparatory survey, the construction phase would generate €17.6 million for the city and create 2,600 person-years in jobs. The annual tax revenue for the city during the centre’s operation would be about €4.8 million, and the operation is estimated to create approximately 790 jobs.

The preparatory survey and plan for this project were presented today to the City of Turku’s City Board, before being published. The objective during the next phase will be to have the necessary negotiations and agree on the terms for using the land, the initiation of the land-use planning and the city’s role regarding the project’s other aspects. The land area is owned by VR Group, and according to the plan the construction work could begin there in 2020.

Pictures: Haroma & Partners