Ambitious new campus plans for old hospital site

City of Helsinki will partner with more than a dozen companies in a 'grand coalition' to develop a new Maria 01 south campus.

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Artist's impression of how the new Maria 01 south campus could look / Credit: Maria 01

The City of Helsinki has announced an ambitious new plan to partner with dozens of companies to develop and expand the Maria 01 campus in Hietaniemi neighbourhood.

There’s currently more than 90 startups at the site of Helsinki’s first public hospital which has been renovated and modernised, but still keeps a 1950s aesthetic inside. Since it opened, Maria 01 has become a key part of Helsinki’s startup scene.

The expansion of the site announced today will see the north end developed further, taking over two more old hospital buildings and adding extra space to the current “phase one” development.

In addition, a brand new south campus will be built, to add 50,000 sq metres more space.

“During the expansion project, Maria 01 will grow and become one of Europe’s largest Startup Campuses, which offers first-rate conditions for innovations and the development of ambitious teams from startups into growth companies. World-changing solutions are born out of encounters, joint efforts and quick experiments and Helsinki wants to offer a functional and attractive platform for this”, says Mayor Jan Vapaavuori in a statement.

Development partners for new campus

The new campus is being developed in a ‘grand coalition’ of big name Finnish brands like Kone, Slush, Nokia and Aalto University. YIT will be the construction lead, while funding is coming in part from Keva.

“It will be a startup, scale-up, innovation campus” explains Santtu von Bruun, Head of Innovations and new experiments at Helsinki City.

“We’re basically looking to build a super cluster of entrepreneurships and innovations, big corporations and super talent in close proximity. It will probably be a bit more startups that are already scaling, bigger tech companies that want to come close to the startups, and even major corporations’s R&D functions” he tells News Now Finland.

At present, startups in Maria 01 can stay for three years, or until they exceed 20 employees, so the new south campus would give them a place to expand and make the right connections with international corporations who want to partner with innovative Finnish companies.

While the renovated hospital buildings will already be in use by next September, the planning for the new campus takes a while longer. Von Bruun estimates that it could be 2024 before the whole south development is complete.