Developing the Wholesale Market and Abattoir area will be one of the new company’s tasks. Photo: Jussi Hellsten

Wholesale Market and Helsingin Leijona Oy join forces – New company to strengthen Helsinki through development of urban and food culture

Helsinki wants to strengthen its profile as an appealing and competitive city that boasts a vibrant urban and food culture. In order to reach this goal, Helsinki has decided to combine the operations of the Wholesale market and Helsingin Leijona Oy under a new company. Consolidating the operations will enable the formation of an operational entity that can have more impact and promote the City’s goals better than before.

The Helsinki City Council decided on the reorganisation of the Wholesale Market’s operations and the establishment of a new company in its meeting on 16 June 2021. The properties and land of the Wholesale Market will remain in the City’s ownership, and the City will lease them to the new company to be established.

The operations of the Wholesale Market under the Helsinki Urban Environment Division comprise the Abattoir, market halls and market squares, the wholesale area of Sörnäinen, the Green Wholesale Market, Pakastamo, the Katriinankatu warehouse, and small markets and squares with sales activities.

As a company fully owned by the City and as a part of the Helsinki City Group, Helsingin Leijona Oy focuses on developing the Torikorttelit area in the Helsinki city centre.

“After the coronavirus crisis, international competition between cities will intensify even further. In order to succeed, Helsinki must leverage its natural strengths and build appeal through them. In the centre of Helsinki, the Torikorttelit blocks, the Wholesale Market’s old Abattoir area, market squares and market halls play a very important role in this regard. Thus far, the City has mainly leased out these unique locations, and the coronavirus crisis has caused them to decline even further. Now, we will begin to develop them to be better than ever before, in a content-oriented manner in cooperation with a variety of operators. The aim is to create vibrant, successful and appealing hubs of urban culture,” says Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori.

The most important task of the new company will be to develop operations in the leased premises and areas. Through its activities, the company will bolster Helsinki’s profile, appeal and competitiveness, and reinvigorate the Torikorttelit area and the Wholesale Market.

In relation these efforts, the company will work to develop Helsinki’s urban and food culture, market square and market hall activities, and the flexible and cost-efficient organisation of these activities. Alongside fostering the traditional wholesale market operations, the idea is to develop the Wholesale Market and Abattoir area in Kalasatama as a hub of urban events and food-related activities, and to support the existing ecosystem in the area.

In addition to this, the company will utilise its development, service and leasing concepts to drive local residents, visitors and companies towards more active use of the City-owned premises and locations that are important in terms of cultural history.

The company will serve as an important means to achieve the goals related to the City’s appeal and vitality and the development of urban culture.

The new company will be ready for operation at the beginning of 2022

In accordance with the City Council’s decision, the operations, assets and personnel of the Wholesale Market (excluding properties and land) will be fully handed over to the new company that will be established to continue the operations. The Wholesale Market’s personnel will move to the new company according to the principles of business transfer as “existing employees.”

In the context of the operational merger, Helsingin Leijona Oy will be merged with the new company, at which point Helsingin Leijona Oy’s employees will also move to the new company as existing employees.

The City of Helsinki will lease to the new company the entirety of the buildings, premises and land required for the current operations of the Wholesale Market and Helsingin Leijona Oy. In addition to this, the City will prepare a separate agreement with the company, regarding the development tasks to be assigned to the company in relation to the relevant City division, trade policies and City strategy as well as the services that the City will purchase from the company within this framework.

The intention is to establish the company as soon as possible after the City Council’s decision on 16 June 2021, so that the new company can take care of the practical measures related to initiating the consolidated operations. At the same time, measures pertaining to the transfer of the Wholesale Market’s operations and Helsingin Leijona Oy’s merger will be prepared.

In its meeting on 14 June, the City Council’s Group Division decided to appoint Kiinteistö Oy Kaapelitalo’s Managing Director Kai Huotari as Chair of the Board and Chief Design Officer Hanna Harris and Regional Construction Manager Outi Säntti as Board Members. The appointed chairperson will serve until the company’s Board of Directors is, in the autumn of 2021, supplemented with members with a background in trustee roles, a new chairperson and an external member. After this, the current chair will continue as a member of the Board. The Board of the new company will include a total of seven members.

The plan is to initiate the company’s actual operations on 1 January 2022. The current working title for the new company is ‘Helsingin kaupunkitilat Oy.’ The name will be specified as necessary as the process of establishing the company and organising the operations progresses.

In terms of the City’s group steering scheme, the new company falls within the Mayor’s operational division in the same way as other subsidiaries relating to the vitality of the City.

Caption: Developing the Wholesale Market and Abattoir area will be one of the new company’s tasks. Photo: Jussi Hellsten