HYY Group reveals spectacular Helsinki conversion project

George Sell By George Sell
16 November 2018 | Updated 16 November 2018

Finland: Two of Helsinki’s most historic grand lodgings will be joined as one next year.

HYY Group, the business arm of the Student Union at the University of Helsinki, has purchased the oldest running hotel in Helsinki - Seurahuone, which opened in 1833. This hotel currently sits next to New Student House - HYY Group's existing student accommodation block, which itself also originally opened as a hotel in 1910.  HYY Group will combine the two buildings to create a 180-220 room property, with "unmatched character and narrative".
Both buildings were designed by famed Finnish architect Armas Lindgren. Students will still use some parts of the building, bringing vibrancy to the hotel project once completed and in use.
The hotel project and its renovation are set to improve the development of the city's central historic area -Kaivopiha. The surrounding district and its economy are predicted to thrive, with the planned new hotel set to create new jobs and drive visitor numbers. The project ties in with HYY Group's long-term strategy - to make Helsinki more international.
HYY Group has started its search for an operator for the hotel's daily management. The chosen operator will "profit from an unrivalled central Helsinki position - where no other five-star properties currently operate, and a totally unique end product - a hotel exuding celebrated charm, with all the promise of a dynamic future".
"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…in the spring of 2021. We are currently seeking an operator for the hotel: either an international hotel chain or a Finnish company," said Antti Kerppola, CEO of HYY Group.
According to 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 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", said Lauri Linna, chairman of the Board at HYY.

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