Oulu is getting prepared for its upcoming year as European Capital of Culture in 2026. At the same time, the city is looking forward to great investments that will develop the urban environment, business, employment, and possibilities for tourism in the next few years. These projects involve the City of Oulu along with private companies and other stakeholders.
The most significant public projects near Oulu city centre include a new travel centre to replace the existing railway and bus stations and a multi-purpose sports and events arena which is being planned right next to the station complex.
The construction cost of the new arena together with an adjoined hotel and office section is currently estimated at approximately 130 million euros. The city is already conducting market dialogue with potential investors and executors.
In coming decades, the arena will provide a first-class setting for many kinds of sports events as well as other important occasions from concerts to conferences.
When it comes to sports and leisure, another upcoming project is the construction of a new football stadium in Heinäpää, as well as a new centre for recreation and tourism in Virpiniemi for local, domestic, and international use.
As far as tourism is concerned, notable projects include the construction of new accommodation and service facilities in Nallikari, which is a popular resort among international visitors, as well as a tall hotel complex at the waterfront near the Market Square, conceived under the working title ”Terwa Tower”.
– These are truly significant investments and wonderful projects that attract investors and executors. The growing Oulu is regarded not only as an appealing location to invest in but also as an inviting and safe place for living and doing business. The City of Oulu as a facilitator creates the possibilities for all these projects and investments to become a reality, says Marko Kilpeläinen, Head of the Urban Environment Division for the City of Oulu.
Massive investments in industry
Major projects in the fields of technology and industry will also create more vitality and employment in Oulu in the near future. Projects scheduled for construction and completion in the next few years include a new Nokia campus and a new production line to be built at the Stora Enso paper mill.
Due to be completed in a couple of years, the new Nokia campus will be housing the company’s research and development functions in Oulu as well as the production of Nokia network devices. The total indoor space in the campus premises will add up to 55 000 square metres and the construction costs will exceed 200 million euros.
Estimated at around one billion euros, the investment by Stora Enso will convert the remaining, idle paper machine at the Group’s Nuottasaari mill in Oulu into a high-volume consumer board production line. The production pf products is estimated to commence in early 2025 and bring at least 300 new jobs along with it.
– The big investments that are currently being executed ensure the development of Oulu in the coming decades. They increase the number of direct and indirect jobs significantly, guarantee the success of existing companies, and allow entry of new operators into the area. What is more, regional logistical decisions concerning the railway as well as road and sea traffic will boost the competitiveness of northern Finland as a whole, envisions Juha Ala-Mursula, Director of BusinessOulu, a public business and employment agency of the City of Oulu.
First-class health care and housing
The construction of ”the smartest hospital in the world” in Oulu has progressed even ahead of schedule, and some of the gigantic complex arising rapidly in the city district of Kontinkangas has already been delivered to the commissioner.
The total cost of the OYS 2030 programme has been estimated at approximately 1.6 billion euros. With this investment, the functions and facilities of Oulu University Hospital will be reformed to meet the future challenges of specialised health care.
Just before taking over the title of European Capital of Culture, Oulu will host the national, annual Housing Fair in 2025. Located in Hartaanselkä, the fair area will become a high-class urban environment that promotes sustainable development and communality. The aim is to turn the area into a popular destination for visitors, an example of a higher grade of city living, and a delight to all the people of Oulu.
In addition to these construction projects worth billions of euros, one of the means of improving the vitality and appeal of Oulu in the future is to develop the air traffic to and from the city. Negotiations with foreign airline companies are constantly underway to open new international connections to the second busiest airport in Finland.