Stockmann Considers Landmark Building Sale

Alvar Aalto-designed building was completed in 1969 for Stockmann, but could now be sold to the highest bidder as property prices soar.

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The Book House / Credit: Stockmann / Kenneth Luoto

The Stockmann Group says it is thinking about selling the landmark Book Store building in Helsinki.

From 1st January, there are no longer any Stockmann-owned businesses operating in the building, after the Herku Deli supermarket was taken over by S-Group. Now the Book Store, designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, is listed on Stockmann’s balance sheet as an investment property, and the board has decided to look into selling it.

“What we have decided now is to do the investigation” says Stockmann’s Retail Division Director Björn Teir.

“Property values in downtown Helsinki are even higher than the crazy years of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, and that’s the main reason the international appetite for properties in the Helsinki are is very high. It would be silly not to investigate what the interest might be” says Teir.

The building, which occupies a corner at Pohjoisesplanadi and Keskuskatu behind the main Stockmann department store, was completed for Stockmann in 1969.

Current tennants include Bonnier Books Academic Bookstore; HOK-Elanto Deli; Isku Invest interior design; and Technopolis, as well as several other business and office rental properties.

“What landlords and tenants usually do with investment properties is to be very active to analyse the property market and decide perhaps to divest the property when the market value is high” Stockmann’s Björn Teir tells News Now Finland.

In recent years, the building was the centre of a storm in a coffee cup, when Starbucks wanted to open a branch on the ground floor. The prompted some concern that the integrity of Alvar Aalto’s design would be compromised.

Teir says that restrictions on how much can be done to change a building of architectural significance like Aalto’s Book Store wouldn’t necessarily be a problem for international developers who might be interested to buy the property.