Kaisaniemi | A restaurant loved by the people of Helsinki drifted into the middle of a nightmare: “The budget has failed”

According to its creators, the restoration of the restaurant in Kaisaniemi has been full of setbacks. Now we are on the winning side, but the budget has been exceeded and the foundations had to be rebuilt.

“Roof your mind will collapse and the permanto will fall and the walls will fall!” sums up the master restoration painter Airi Kallio renovation of the former restaurant Kaisaniemi, the future Cajsan Helme.

He also describes the work as, among other things, “bottom quotation”. Son of a master painter Leo Kalliowho is responsible for the financial and technical side of the restoration project, from time to time uses descriptive expressions that cannot be printed in a newspaper.

According to Kallio, especially this year, there has been mostly bad news regarding the restoration of the restaurant. The building has been revealed to be even worse than expected.

“This has not been a restoration but a new construction. That’s why our budget has failed.”

The amount of money needed for repairs has also been inflated by the rise in material costs and interest rates.

Leo Kallio says that the budget was exceeded by about 20 percent at the end of May. Uusimaa Osuuspankki granted the necessary additional amount, but according to him, the conditions are strict: the interest rates are high, and the loan should be repaid in a year and a half.

Part of the building is still under renovation, because there has been more to repair than expected.

Property remained empty in 2019, when the taxman applied for the previous restaurant owner Mika Hultin to bankruptcy. In the summer of the same year, Hult criticize For HS, the city of Helsinki for not taking care of the building it still owned at the time.

The same criticism also comes from the Kallios, who bought the property in 2021. The house has had to be rebuilt down to the foundations.

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“For decades, during the ownership of the city of Helsinki, the maintenance and upkeep of this house has been completely neglected,” Leo Kallio formulates.

According to him, the repairs that have been done in the house in the past are also poorly documented. He recalls that the most comprehensive documentation is from 1929. The structures of that time no longer exist.

“This has been such a treasure hunting game that when one corner has been opened, the next corner has to be opened as well. Now the end result is that the whole house has been turned around.”

The rocks wonder why the city of Helsinki has not covered the repair costs of the old restaurant, even though the building is part of cultural history and on the city’s property. Airi Kallio would have hoped for empathy from the city, for example in the form of a reduced plot rent during the building.

He also calls for “cultural will” – the desire to take care of cultural history.

Team manager of the City of Helsinki’s spatial services Ville Vuorio says that the reason for the city’s line lies in the principles of equality.

“If the plot rent was reduced for one, it should also be reduced for the others.”

According to Vuorio, the information about the changes and repairs made to the building is incomplete, because the owners of the old house have changed several times and the changes made have not always been reported.

“There, some people have made quite drastic decisions. For example, load-bearing walls have been knocked down.”

According to Vuorio, the city follows a real estate strategy when giving up such properties for which it has no use. He praises the work done by Kallioi to preserve the Kaisaniemi restaurant building.

In 2020, head of the unit responsible for the city’s real estate Osmo Rasimus told HS that the city-owned restaurant building in Kaisaniemi was kept in “minimum condition”.

About the challenges regardless, handing over is out of the question for Kallioi. The solidity of the rocks is due to both passion and the debt money invested in the place.

“Despair is the best muse”, laughs the person responsible for the production of the family business, who also arrived at the site Ville Kallioanother of Airi Kallio’s sons.

Kalliot estimates that, despite the setbacks, we are now on the winning side of renovating the building. The scaffolding for the facade is going up at the moment, and some of the rooms are ready without electricity.

“You wouldn’t think there would be any more surprises when the house is opened from floor to ceiling,” says Ville Kallio.

The most finished parts of the restaurant are the Marski and Snellman cabinets, which have been restored according to the original appearance of the rooms. There is plenty of history in the rooms: Marski’s cabinet has a secret exit from the time of the Prohibition Act, and Snellman’s cabinet has a Finnish markka created according to Airi Kallio.

Thirty layers of wallpaper have been peeled from some walls. The layers of the decades will also be visible in the finished restaurant.

Airi, Leo and Otto Kallio sat down in the nearly finished Marski cabinet. The family has “work site dogs” Kerttu, Ines and Tirri.

Customers The Kallios are not too worried about having enough, as long as Cajsan Helmi is opened. The seven-minute walking distance from the train station and the numerous hotels nearby keep the customer flow stable.

According to its founders, Cajsan Helme will be a “continental cafe-restaurant”.

“There are at least 150 restaurants here within a kilometer radius. We can’t play something we don’t know how to do. Especially when the stakes are this high,” explains Leo Kallio.

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Kallioi’s family business has established coffee and tea rooms in old restored houses in Porvoo and Loviisa as well. So there is experience.

Currently, there is a 60-centimeter “moat” between the building and the road. “The alligators are just missing,” Airi Kallio laughs.

When will the continental cafe-restaurant open?

In January 2023, Airi Kallio evaluate to HS that during this year. Even though the back pack has come and the budget has stretched and exploded, Kalliot still gives the same assessment.

More specifically, the hopes would be that Cajsan Helmi would be opened at the end of this year.

However, the entire project will not be completed when the cafe-restaurant doors open. The renovation of the yard area is still ahead. Kalliot calls the yard’s current pile of construction waste a “spatial work of art”.

In addition, Kaisaniemi Park will be renovated and renovated over the next five years. The day when Cajsan Helmi is ready with its gardens is still further in the future.

Renovating the restaurant’s terrace and yard is a matter of recent times.

The building however, light is slowly starting to show through the large windows. A blue sky has been painted on the ceiling of the restaurant’s hall, and the oak tree that used to grow through the ceiling has been released into the open air.

“I will quote a French philosopher Rousseau, that “back to nature”. That’s the whole idea in this house”, Airi Kallio sums up the deepest core of his project.

Then Leo Kallio presents his own summary.

“To quote an unknown Finnish thinker, they sold shit.”

Cajsa Helmi is being tried to open before the end of this year.

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