Food culture, events and an arena for up to 17,000 spectators? Helsinki is planning the future of Wholesale Market

The City of Helsinki is planning significant redevelopment for the Wholesale Market area to be carried out gradually in the 2030s. According to preliminary visions, the area could become a larger centre for food culture and events, bordered by new residential buildings. In addition to these, preliminary plans include the construction of an event arena with up to 17,000 seats at the Wholesale Market. Wholesale operations in the area are also planned to continue.
Aerial image of the Wholesale Market area.
Aerial image of the Wholesale Market area.

The Wholesale Market is an area between Kalasatama and Hermanni that currently features wholesale stores and related storage facilities, among others. The area also houses Teurastamo, a centre of urban culture specialising in food. The City has now drafted four preliminary scenarios envisioning the future of the area, all of which preserve its characteristic industrial atmosphere.

“The Wholesale Market area has the potential to develop into a notable urban centre for events, culture and leisure together with the neighbouring Suvilahti and Hanasaari areas. The nearby Sörnäinen Prison area may also be completely re-purposed in the future, which means that the area has enormous potential. However, the preliminary plans are all built on the premise that the Wholesale Market area will also continue to be used for wholesale operations in the future,” says Land Use Director Rikhard Manninen.

The preliminary plans envision residential construction in the northern parts of the Wholesale Market area to complement the new Verkkosaari and Hermanninranta areas being developed on the other side of Hermannin rantatie. The plans also reserve space for wholesale operations and the food industry in the middle parts of the area. 

At the southern edge of the area, the lively cultural area of Teurastamo is set to expand, and the aim is to find more venues for various types of events. The different scenarios envision the construction of a concert hall or even an arena with up to 17,000 seats in the area, for example.

The area’s green spaces will also be redeveloped, with Agroksenmäki to be linked to the coastal area of Hermanninranta and Hermanninpuisto park in the future. Meanwhile Vanha Talvitie, which currently sees a great deal of traffic, could become a lively inner city street in the future.

Planning guided by planning principles

The drafted scenarios will serve as the basis for preparing a proposal on the planning principles for the area, which city residents will be able to comment on later in 2024. The planning principles are to be discussed by the Urban Environment Committee at the end of 2024. The proposal that is ultimately submitted to decision-makers may not necessarily correspond to any of the solutions now being showcased.

The purpose of the planning principles to be drawn up is to steer later planning and detailed planning. The timetable for the more notable changes is still undecided, but they will take at least years, if not decades. The current plot lease agreements in the Wholesale Market area are valid until 2036. However, in order to allow the area’s operators to prepare for future changes, the drafting of the planning principles must be started well in advance.

Approximately half of the Wholesale Market’s current premises are managed by Helsinki City Premises Ltd, a company owned by the City. The plans for the area are being prepared utilising a vision that the company prepared in 2023–2024 in collaboration with the area’s users and stakeholders. This vision prioritises the preservation of the area’s history for future generations as the most important sustainable solution for the area. According to the vision, the Wholesale Market will become a pioneering centre of culinary culture and a test kitchen for the entire city. Redeveloped according the principles of sustainable development, the area will serve as a home to an increasing number of businesses, communities, individuals and shared activities centred around food and urban culture.