Transformation of Aker Brygge: From shopping mall to vibrant part of Oslo

(Oslo, 23 June 2011) Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway, shall over the next four years undergo a major reconstruction and modernisation. A total of NOK 1 to 1.5 billion will be spent on the project which, among other things, will include a seaside promenade, a market place and other outdoor areas custom-built for cultural events, exciting activities and a lively atmosphere. New shops and restaurants, significantly upgraded office buildings and a brand new street bringing the centre of Oslo even closer together, are other key elements of the project.

Aker Brygge, which is located at the land of the former shipyard known as Akers Mekaniske Verksted, has during the last 25 years been a leading centre for business life and retail in the capital city. Now, Norwegian Property (NPRO), who owns the majority of this area, will make Aker Brygge even more pleasant, exciting and attractive for business life, inhabitants, other citizens of Oslo and all visitors from other parts of Norway and abroad. The work has already been initiated, and the “New Aker Brygge” is scheduled for completion in 2015.

12 million people visit Aker Brygge every year. In addition, 6 000 employees have their daily workplace here. Key elements of the reconstruction and modernisation project are larger contrasts between industrial history and traditions on one side, and modern architecture and design on the other, a range of new, exciting shops, even better cuisine, a clearer division between offices and retail/restaurant areas, and outdoor spaces giving rise to activities and social life.

-Aker Brygge is going to be transformed from a partly introvert shopping mall where the shops are somewhat scattered, into an open and lively part of Oslo; a destination which offers personality, contrasts and positive experiences all year round, says Olav Line, CEO of NPRO.

According to Olav Line, the monumental, historic buildings from the industrial history of Akers Mek will stand in contrast with the state-of-the-art architecture and design at the “New Aker Brygge”. The traditional brick buildings will be brought back closer to its origin. Simultaneously, buildings which have been constructed the last 25 years will have new, modern fronts and improved indoor layout. The building closest to the City Hall, where the main entrance of Aker Brygge is located, will as an example have a new and much more distinct glass front towards the city. The facade will be highly visible in the urban landscape, and draw attention to the main entry of Aker Brygge.

Today, Aker Brygge is, together with the neighbouring areas Vika and Tjuvholdmen/Filipstad, the most attractive office location in Oslo. The position as Oslo’s equivalent of London’s West End and New York’s Park Avenue will be further strengthened through thorough upgrades of the existing office buildings. These changes will strengthen both the identity of the individual businesses and the overall position of Aker Brygge as an attractive office location. In order to create a more distinct division between office and retail/restaurant areas, dedicated lobbies and corporate entrances will, as an example, be established for the office premises. NPRO is also planning to establish a new “food court” centrally located at Aker Brygge as a staff restaurant for tenants’ employees.

-Shopping at Aker Brygge will become more pleasant and more exciting. Shopping entrances will, after the reconstruction, without exception be located at street level, with facades stretching over two floors in height. A new shopping street will be established with headroom of double height, stretching diagonally from the main entrance, through the various buildings straight on to the market place. Outdoors, in Holmens gate, another shopping street will be created with shops and restaurants at both sides. This will be an urban street connecting the City Hall and Vika with Tjuvholmen and Filipstad, Olav Line explains.

NPRO plans to attract several new and exciting shops to Aker Brygge, including retailers establishing themselves in Norway for the first time. All shops will have a high quality profile adapted to mature buyers including well-known Norwegian and international brands and market leaders within clothing, shoes, sports equipment and leisure, in addition to niche concepts within delicacy, fruit and vegetables, fish/seafood, cheese and flowers.

The restaurant selection at Aker Brygge will be revitalised when the new restaurant complex, currently under construction by NPRO together with acknowledged chefs Terje Ness and Rune Pal, opens 21 September this year. The new restaurant complex, to be named “Onda by Pal&Ness”, will have a total of 400 indoors seats and an additional 250 seats in the outdoor area. The restaurant will be located “in the sea”, at a pier by the marina, in the middle of Aker Brygge’s attractive seaside. The new restaurant with contain a seafood bar, an Asian cuisine with sushi bar and a gourmet restaurant which will be the best and most exclusive restaurant in Norway. The aim is to become the only restaurant in the country with two stars in the Michelin guide.

The future location of shops and restaurants at Aker Brygge will to a larger extent be thematic and adjusted to the architectural character of each building.

Outdoor areas at Aker Brygge will undergo an extensive upgrade. Bryggetorget, the existing square in the middle of Aker Brygge, is today by many perceived as undefined and indistinct. This area will now be converted into an inviting and vibrant market place filled with exciting cultural events and activities. Art, planting of greenery and extrovert activities at street levels of the buildings will create more life all year round, both at Bryggetorget and the other outdoor areas.

The seaside of Aker Brygge, which is the biggest attraction of the area today, will be further developed as a spacious promenade. The marina will be upgraded, and the height difference between the quay and the sea will be reduced in order to bring the sea closer to the people.

-In order to become an even more central part of the everyday life of Oslo’s population, the outdoor areas will be used for cultural events, festivals and other events related to music, entertainment, shopping/fashion, gastronomy and sport. Among other things, we are planning to create Norway’s most pleasant and spectacular Christmas Street at Aker Brygge, Line points out.

Aker Brygge will live and breathe with the different seasons. With this perspective, a separate lighting project has been initiated in order to underline, enhance and compensate for the unique variations in light and temperatures in Oslo. The lighting project will also emphasise the historic character of the industrial buildings and simultaneously contribute to thriving living conditions for the retail business at Aker Brygge.

An important goal of the reconstruction and modernisation of Aker Brygge, is to improve the environmental friendliness of the area. A new energy central based on sea water is already being established. This will deliver energy to most of the large buildings owned by NPRO at Aker Brygge. Compared with traditional solutions, the energy central will reduce CO2 emissions by 75 per cent, by lowering estimated energy consumption from 4 000 000 kWh/year to 1 400 000 kWh/year. The energy central also has capacity to deliver energy to even more buildings in time. -This will be a solid investment in the future, both with regards to reduced environmental charges and lower energy costs for tenants at Aker Brygge, says Olav Line.

For further information, please contact Olav Line, CEO of Norwegian Property, telephone: +47 482 54 149.

 

Norwegian Property is a focused and fully integrated office property company with 47 properties located in the Oslo area and Stavanger in Norway. The portfolio, which has a total fair value of NOK 15.1 billion, is characterized by central location and attractive premises with low vacancy and high quality tenants. The group’s properties consist largely of office premises, associated warehousing and car parking, as well as retail and catering space. The company has identified four value drivers for long-term value creation; Marketing & letting, Property management, Property development and Transactions & finance.

Norwegian Property is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange with the ticker NPRO.

www.npro.no

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