Facility developer

Vaasa Parks tailors business premises with a unique model

vasaparks3_380x380When a company in the Vaasa region is looking for new business premises, it’s well worth contacting Vaasa Parks. The company, founded at the turn of the millennium, tailors and builds business premises for companies and also arranges project funding.

For more than ten years, the trend has been that companies do not want to own the walls that surround them. They’d rather use their capital for their core business, says Vaasa Parks’ CEO, Ulla Maki-Lohiluoma.

When a building developed by Vaasa Parks is completed, companies become its long-term tenants. The clients are mainly companies of the Vaasa energy cluster, and examples of tailored projects already completed include business premises for The Switch, the Powergate building and Citec’s new head office.

Vaasa Parks operates in Finnish conditions with a unique model, because the company has both private and public shareholders. In addition to the City of Vaasa, Vaasa Parks is owned equally by the venture capital firm Wedeco and the Merinova Technology Centre. Merinova, on the other hand, is to a large extent owned by companies in the region.

This kind of public-private partnership model is unusual elsewhere in Finland. If the company were entirely publicly or entirely privately owned, it would be more difficult to work in this way”, says Maki-Lohiluoma.

She considers that The Switch factory is an example of a project that would have been difficult to realize with some other kind of model. The company was a newly established start-up with very little to show for itself when Vaasa Parks built a factory for it in 2008.

Vaasa Parks wants to be a new builder rather than a long-term real-estate investor. The buildings can therefore be sold if a long-term real-estate investor is found, and if the investor is also suitable for the tenant. In this way, the capital is then released for the next project.

The unique model has attracted attention for elsewhere, and visitors are often astonished by the public-private partnership model.

Properties are always designed to meet the needs of users and to optimise space efficiency. Contracts are subject to competitive tendering, and implementation can be altered even during the construction stage, if the tenant so wishes.

Over the last decade, Vaasa Parks developed properties totalling more than 60,000 square metres with an investment value of around €70 million. Most of them are located in Vaasa Airport Park, which has long been Finland’s fastest growing business park. The park employs over 4,000 people.