Citycon Oyj and Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company have decided to expand and redevelop the shopping centre IsoKristiina, located in the city center of Lappeenranta. The total investment will be around EUR 100 million, Ilmarinen and Citycon both have 50 per cent partnership in the project. Ilmarinen will also buy a 50 per cent share of the existing shopping centre IsoKristiina. Therefore, Citycon and Ilmarinen will have fifty-fifty ownership of the redeveloped and expanded shopping centre IsoKristiina in the future. The agreements that enable the launch of the project will be signed during March to start the construction work on April 1.

 At the moment IsoKristiina has leasable area amounting to 19,800  sq. metres (14,100  sq.m of which is retail area). After the redevelopment, IsoKristiina will feature 34,000 sq. metres of leasable area.

 Lappeenranta is a growing university city. Approximately 400,000 people live within its regional catchment area. It´s also located on the border between Finland and Russia, only some 200 kilometres from St. Petersburg, a metropolis with five million inhabitants.  In recent years, the increase in tax free sales and the number of Russian tourists has been particularly high in Lappeenranta. The tax free sales of the Russian tourists are now approximately at the same level as in Helsinki. During year 2012 the tax free sales amounted to EUR 94 million and grew by 20 per cent in Lappeenranta. 

 A special feature of this project is that the new premises of Lappeenranta City Theatre will be located inside the renewed shopping centre.

 “This is a unique solution even in an international scale, making IsoKristiina a novel indoor city space combining culture and retail services. The City of Lappeenranta has made a separate investment decision on the theatre premises, and they will be owned by the City and therefore they are not included in Citycon’s and Ilmarinen´s investment”, says Marko Juhokas, Senior Vice President of Development and Sustainability, Citycon.

 As a result of the redevelopment project, IsoKristiina will strengthen and diversify its international tenant base substantially. 

 “The shopping centre will meet the requirements of both a demanding inner city customer and an international consumer. The focus of the assortment will be in appealing fashion brands and beauty and other specialty retailing included in city services. IsoKristiina will also accommodate, for example, the new Sokos city department store of Etelä-Karjalan Osuuskauppa Eekoo. Day-to-day needs will also be supported by versatile, high-quality S-market and K-supermarket grocery stores. Anttila department will move to the new premises” says Harri Holmström, Chief Operating Officer, Citycon.

 In IsoKristiina, great emphasis will also be laid on leisure and versatile restaurant and café services, for example in the shopping centre’s diversified food court restaurant complex of international standards.  In addition to the city theatre, Finnkino will open a new cinema in IsoKristiina.

 Approximately 60 per cent of the retail space has already been preleased, which shows that IsoKristiina has a high demand by retail and leisure brands.

 Kimmo Jarva, the city leader of Lappeenranta considers that the decision to place the theater inside a shopping centre´s customer flows is unique. He says that IsoKristiina redevelopment and extension project is a major leap to develop and revitalize the city center of Lappeenranta.  

 “Lappeenranta is an interesting and growing regional city, additionally supported by its strong border location, close to the enormous spending power of the St. Petersburg region. In the minds of Russian tourists, Finland is associated with high quality, as proven by the amazing growth figures in tax free sales and the high future projections. However, IsoKristiina, now undergoing major redevelopment, is also a strong shopping centre of its own region, offering the inhabitants of Southwest Finland a high-quality alternative for shopping and versatile leisure activities,” points out Harri Holmström.

 “In accordance with its strategic decision, Citycon wants to focus its operations on urban locations in winning cities, and Lappeenranta clearly meets this criterion. I am especially happy, that our long term partner and shareholder Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company will come as a joint venture partner to the redevelopment project and to the shopping centre IsoKristiina. Ilmarinen´s participation brings an additional quality seal to property, to the city of Lappeenranta as well as to our company” notes Marcel Kokkeel, CEO, Citycon.

 “IsoKristiina is an essential part of the city center of Lappeenranta. The expansion of IsoKristiina follows the principals of sustainability by using the existing infrastructure more efficiently and enhancing the services in the city center. In addition, the energy efficiency and environmental angles have been taken into account in the planning and implantation. We are pleased to be Citycon´s primary partner to develop and own the shopping centre IsoKristiina”, says Tomi Aimonen, Real Estate Director, Ilmarinen.    

 For further information, please contact:

 Harri Holmström, Chief Operating Officer, tel. +358 40 845 5726

 Heikki Alén, Project Development Manager, tel. +358 40 567 6619

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