Construction A strange saga is going on in the heart of Oulu – an attempt has been made to build a hotel on the edge of the market for 13 years and the building is not even close yet

How how long can it take to complete one hotel? At least 13 years, if the people of Oulu are asked.

It has been long awaited for the market hotel to be centrally located in the Oulu Market Square. A design reservation was made for the plot as the main owner of the technology company Uros Jyrki Hallikainen to the family company MPG Services Oy in 2008. Construction finally started in the spring of 2020, but is not ready.

Cranes moving on an unfinished site give hope in the gray of November. The Uros billboards that used to look great in cranes have been removed. The Oulu police suspect the company of gross aid fraud, and the Helsinki District Court has ordered it to pay more than ten million in debts to various banks.

“Tikkuinen has been in the sky, and it has tested his sense of humor several times,” says the long-serving councilor and municipal politician in Oulu, who has chaired the Oulu Community Council. Martti Korhonen (vas).

The city’s latest deadline for hotel completion is the end of June 2022. Work on the site has been interrupted on many occasions, and the city has already charged the entrepreneur late fees of almost one million euros.

“Now the project seems to be moving forward. Let’s see what the end result is, ”says Korhonen.

All began in 2006 when Veikko Lesonen, A businessman from Oulu who was enriched by the sale of JOT Automation at the turn of the millennium, wanted to set up an event and accommodation space in the market square.

Lesonen had recently bought a culturally and historically valuable one from the side of the market squarePetrell’s house and set up restaurants in it, so the development of the market was in full swing.

A design reservation was made for Lesone, but the plans changed and the plot ended up being put up for public use.

The renovation site is right next to the market hall.

When a public competition was held for the market hotel site in 2008, Hallikainen, who was enriched by the sale of Microcell in 2003, was the only applicant and was selected.

Started the town-planning process, which was slowed by complaints. Among the appellants were housing associations and individuals in the area, and they did not think anything was very good about the project. Nothing should have been built next to the market hall at all.

Oulu City Surveyor, who has been an official in land matters for more than 30 years Kaija Puhakka knows the steps of a market hotel.

“The formula took effect in 2013. The appeal process did not change the content of the formula,” says Puhakka.

The agencies ’stroller then progressed to a building permit, and when it was legal, a land lease was signed in May 2015.

The city gave Hallikainen the company four years. The hotel and the associated winter market – a semi – warm space protected from the wind where market sales and other events can take place – were to be ready and operational in 2019.

Long construction time was supported by the implementation of underground parking and the city’s demand to silence construction during the summer due to the operation of the market square.

However, construction did not begin. Instead, disagreements began over how big the hotel site could be made.

According to the formula, the hotel was only allowed to have three floors, but Hallikainen applied for and received an exemption from the city to build four floors in the building. The following year, Hallikainen applied for a permit for the fifth floor.

“It was experienced as an evening milking,” says Martti Korhonen.

The hotel was originally supposed to be three-storey, but the developer was asked to request one more storey.

According to Korhonen, there were no longer any conditions for promising the fifth floor in the decision-making or civil service.

The market hotel was becoming a small unit of 130 rooms. Korhonen emphasizes that it was already known when we left – we wanted a small, Gasthaus-type building.

“The entrepreneur argued that the hotel should have 170 rooms to be operational. Perhaps the delay was due to the fact that the hotel was too small from the operators’ point of view. There is no information on whether the hotel still has an operator today, ”Korhonen ponders.

Because Hallikainen’s project did not start, in 2017, under the leadership of Korhonen, sanctions were turned in the municipal committee.

“It was a necessity because it could no longer be stopped. The market area could not wait indefinitely, ”says Korhonen.

The hotel was wanted because the Allas Sea Pool was planned next to it – the same type as in Katajanokka, Helsinki. Since then, the project went on ice during the corona epidemic.

When the time limit set for the market hotel expired in 2019, the city began charging a contractual penalty of 50,000 euros a year. Hallikainen’s company has now paid for it for three years in a row.

A new time limit was set for the end of 2020, but as it was not ready by then, a security deposit of EUR 800,000 was included in the payment.

“The construction looked unsuitable. I had to put conditions because it seemed like nothing was going to happen. The plinth and basement structures are done, and the job is standing still, ”describes Korhonen.

Will it be completed hotel at last? If not completed by the end of June, the city has threatened to terminate the lease.

“The technical readiness, I understand, is that it is possible to reach the time limit,” says the urban surveyor Puhakka.

“Outside work is being done at the hotel. We do not have information about the interior work situation. ”

According to Puhakka, the construction company SRV, which is contracting the hotel, has promised to inform the city if the schedule is not met.

Based on the current deadline, the hotel should be completed in 2022.

If you wanted to be wise, you could think that more discussions about the terms should have taken place when the plot was handed over.

“The default value was that there are bangs and the entrepreneur will be able to implement the project,” says Korhonen.

Now when the situation in Uros seems weak, there are new gloomy clouds on top of the market hotel.

“You have to try to be an eternal optimist that the project is going to finish. It is hoped that the companies will be separate, the finances will be clear and things will move forward, ”Korhonen hopes.

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