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Development of Lapinlahti Hospital continues

The City of Helsinki continues to plan the future use of the Lapinlahti Hospital area in interaction with city residents and the users of the area. The aim of the planning is to find a sustainable solution for the renovation of the culturally and historically significant property in cooperation with NREP. The intention is to keep the current size of the park area, and there will be no new construction in the area.
Garden of Lapinlahti Hospital. Photo: Yiping Feng ja Ling Ouyang. Helsinki Partners
Garden of Lapinlahti Hospital. Photo: Yiping Feng ja Ling Ouyang. Helsinki Partners

The City of Helsinki will start planning and detailed planning work in December, the aim of which is to renovate the former hospital buildings in Lapinlahti ready for their current and new purpose that suits the nature of the area. The aim is to create conditions for the renovation of the premises and for continuing mental health work and open cultural activities alongside other activities.

The park of the hospital area will remain open to city residents as it is today. The plan for placing new buildings in the park area has been abandoned, and the planning does not include other new construction in the Lapinlahti area either.

Real estate development company NREP will continue as the city’s partner in the planning. The proposals it has made earlier will be used as a basis for planning in applicable parts. Among other things, it has been proposed that the hostel and work spaces in the main building be renovated. However, the parties are also open to other ideas, which are welcomed from both Helsinki residents and the current users of the area.

As a basis for planning, the city collects opinions from city residents through the Kerrokantasi service until 20 January 2023. Users of the area and other people interested will also have the opportunity to participate in the planning in workshops to be arranged in spring, for which more detailed information will be available later.

The detailed planning related to the planning is scheduled to begin in early 2023. When the zoning begins, those involved will be informed of its stages by letter, for example, and through the map service  and the Plan Alert Service.

Hospital buildings in need of repair

Hospital operations in Lapinlahti ended in 2008. The main building, which was completed in 1841, and its annexes are in need of renovation and have been waiting a long time for a decision on which purpose the buildings will be renovated for, and how the repairs will be financed. As a rule, the aim of the city is to give up premises that are not used for its own services. In recent years, the premises in Lapinlahti have been rented to Osuuskunta Lapinlahden Tilajakamo and Lapinlahden Lähde Oy.

To finance the necessary renovations, the City of Helsinki is now planning a new kind of ownership arrangement, in which one the goals is to secure the possibility to also continue renting the premises for non-profit activities alongside other activities in the future.

The plan is that the City of Helsinki and NREP will establish a joint real estate company in the future, which will be responsible for renovating, owning and renting the premises in Lapinlahti. The city could either sell or hand over the buildings to the new company. Kiinteistö Oy Kaapelitalo is involved in investigating the whole arrangement, because the company has experience in similar projects in Kaapelitehdas and Suvilahti.

Guidelines of the City Board guide planning

Planning for the Lapinlahti Hospital is based on the City Board’s decision from 2020 on guidelines for the preservation and renovation of the area. At that time, the Urban Environment Division proposed selling the hospital buildings to NREP, which had won the competitive tender for the development of the area. According to the winning proposal, a hotel would have been built near the hospital, among other things.

The City Board rejected the proposal and decided that the city will commission an investigation on how Lapinlahti can be restored and preserved in another way. The point of departure in the investigation was that the park will remain at its current size and that the buildings will remain open to city residents to a sufficient extent. The aim was to ensure that mental health, non-governmental and cultural activities will remain a part of the area and to outline a fair, open financial model.

If necessary, the City of Helsinki could remain the owner or co-owner of the buildings, though efforts would be needed to find external operators for the development. NREP and the winning proposal had to be included in the overall investigation. Possible additional construction could be planned for the area where Länsiväylä begins, for example, in accordance with the City Board’s decision. However, in this context, no construction is planned for the area in question, but the city is negotiating with NREP about possible new construction sites elsewhere in Helsinki.

The planning work that is about to begin will follow the guidelines set by the City Board and the recommendations given by an external investigator. The aim is that the complete operational plan and detailed plan proposal will proceed to political decision-making in autumn 2023.