Skip to content

Ylva acquired the historic Seurahuone building – a new hotel will connect two heritage buildings in the heart of Helsinki

Ylva has acquired the Seurahuone building, located in the heart of Helsinki, from Sponda. The historical block at Kaivopiha will be largely restored to its original purpose, as Ylva expands its hotel business to parts of the New Student House.

Parts of the New Student House will be restored to hotel use after years of serving other purposes. The building hosted Hotel Hansa between 1924 and 1968. There has been a hotel in the Seurahuone building since 1912. The renovation, soon to be started, will connect the two historic hotel spaces.

“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, consisting of 240 rooms, in the spring of 2021. We are currently seeking an operator for the hotel: either an international hotel chain or a Finnish company”, states Antti Kerppola, CEO of Ylva.

The Seurahuone building was designed by architect Armas Lindgren, and the New Student House by Lindgren and Wivi Lönn. Together, the two buildings form a piece of architecture of cultural historic importance to the centre of Helsinki. Over the decades, the hotels operating in the two buildings have intertwined with Finland’s history: Seurahuone was inhabited by many Russian émigrés and political refugees during World War I and the Russian Revolution. Hotel Hansa’s restaurant, on the other hand, was greatly valued by Helsinki’s cultural elite.

The hotel project and the Lyyra complex – Ylva is developing the city centre

According to Antti Kerppola, the objective of the Ylva 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 legendary student premises will stay in the Student Union’s use

Although some of the facilities at the New Student House will be restored to hotel use, most of the Student Union’s functions in the building will stay there. The New Student House’s heritage will be sustained, as the building will continue to provide students with facilities for meetings, recreation and partying.

Some of the student premises at the New Student House are currently non-accessible. Student organisations using these spaces will be offered more modern, accessible and appropriate spaces, which have been designed together with the Student Union.

The objective of Ylva’s Real Estate business is to increase its profit for the benefit of the students. In the long run, the Ylva aims at enabling a Student Union with no member fees.

“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”, says Lauri Linna, Chairman of the Board at HYY.

CBRE acted as the commercial advisor and Bird&Bird as the legal advisor for the real estate acquisition.

For more information, please contact:

Antti Kerppola, CEO of Ylva, tel: +358 45 3532 187

Ylva is responsible for the real estate and financial investment activities of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki. For more than 150 years, we have been building a city in which ideas and people come together. Our unique background calls for leadership in transparency and corporate responsibility as well as a strong commitment to developing Helsinki. As a real estate developer with good financial standing, we have the chance to achieve these objectives. Our long-term development projects include the Kaivopiha block, including both the Old and New Student Houses in the heart of Helsinki, Domus Gaudium in Kamppi, student apartments and the Mechelininkatu 3D-HUB. We also own properties in Jollas and Tuusula, both of cultural and historical significance. We have improved our profitability for three years in a row, and our investments have reached a record high.

Ylva was formerly known as HYY Group