HYY Group acquired the historic Seurahuone building
CBRE acted as the Buyer's exclusive commercial advisor - HYY Group acquired the historic Seurahuone building
September 28, 2018
HYY GROUP PRESS RELEASE
HYY Group has acquired the Seurahuone building, located in the heart of Helsinki, from Sponda. The historical block at Kaivopiha will be largely restored to its original purpose, as HYY Group expands its hotel business to parts of the New Student House.
Parts of the New Student House will be restored to hotel use after years of serving other purposes. The building hosted Hotel Hansa between 1924 and 1968. There has been a hotel in the Seurahuone building since 1912. The renovation, soon to be started, will connect the two historic hotel spaces.
“With this acquisition, a new and internationally appealing hotel complex will be created right in the centre of Helsinki. We are planning a comprehensive renovation of the facilities. Our aim is to open a new hotel, consisting of 240 rooms, in the spring of 2021. We are currently seeking an operator for the hotel: either an international hotel chain or a Finnish company”, states Antti Kerppola, CEO of HYY Group.
The Seurahuone building was designed by architect Armas Lindgren, and the New Student House by Lindgren and Wivi Lönn. Together, the two buildings form a piece of architecture of cultural historic importance to the centre of Helsinki. Over the decades, the hotels operating in the two buildings have intertwined with Finland’s history: Seurahuone was inhabited by many Russian émigrés and political refugees during World War I and the Russian Revolution. Hotel Hansa’s restaurant, on the other hand, was greatly valued by Helsinki’s cultural elite.
The hotel project and the Lyyra complex – HYY Group is developing the city centre
According to Antti Kerppola, the objective of the Group is to further develop the city centre of Helsinki and to support the city’s endeavours in becoming more international.
“With the acquisition of the Seurahuone property, this historical building complex in the heart of Helsinki will be handed over to the Student Union. Moreover, we intend to bring the Kaivopiha block to a new level. The renewal of the block is aligned with our plans for the Lyyra project in Hakaniemi: we will continue to develop the city centre to increase its international appeal and to make it more enjoyable and more functional.”
The legendary student premises will stay in the Student Union’s use
Although some of the facilities at the New Student House will be restored to hotel use, most of the Student Union’s functions in the building will stay there. The New Student House’s heritage will be sustained, as the building will continue to provide students with facilities for meetings, recreation and partying.
Some of the student premises at the New Student House are currently non-accessible. Student organisations using these spaces will be offered more modern, accessible and appropriate spaces, which have been designed together with the Student Union.
The objective of HYY Group’s Real Estate business is to increase its profit for the benefit of the students. In the long run, the Group aims at enabling a Student Union with no member fees.
“The acquisition of the Seurahuone building and the renovation of the New Student House will be carried out so that the students, who are the owners of the facilities, would gain maximum benefit from the profit of the Student Union’s property. We aspire to make the students of the University of Helsinki the happiest in the world, and sustainable asset management is a key issue in this respect. The legendary New Student House will remain in active student use, and the functions will be expanded further to new premises in Kamppi”, says Lauri Linna, Chairman of the Board at HYY.
CBRE acted as the commercial advisor and Bird&Bird as the legal advisor for the real estate acquisition.