Yesterday (Feb 1st, 2022), the Finnish startup community and Maria 01 received depressing news. Helsinki Administrative Court had made the decision, that the area permit of the Maria 01 campus expansion to the southern side of the old Maria hospital area, submitted by the land-owner (City of Helsinki) was overruled.
The reason for the overruling seems to be based on statements, claiming that “the plan for the southern area did not pay enough attention to the area’s cultural heritage” and that “the area is currently in use by the neighborhood’s tenants and serves as a recreational area for people living around the campus area“.
We as Maria 01 feel, that the judgment is not fair and can be considered to partly be based on misleading facts (for example, the kindergarten is not operating in the area anymore) and interpretations. However, we need to accept the decision of the overruling. From here, the next possible step in the process is that the land-owner (City of Helsinki) either submits an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court, or proceeds by submitting an alternative area plan. In either case, we can expect an unfortunate delay in the expansion project.
If we look at this from the bright side, there might be a silver lining to the decision. Currently, the expansion project has extensively been run by the City of Helsinki and the consortium that won the tender competition in 2018. Throughout the project, we have been worried about how the startup community’s voice is being heard in planning and operating the campus. So far too little. It is extremely important that the whole startup community can and will be part of taking ownership of the new Maria 01 campus.
Despite the problems with the current setup and area permits, we know that the Maria 01 campus expansion is something that the whole startup community in the Nordics, Finland, and Helsinki needs. With the strong growth we have witnessed within the startup ecosystem, there is no doubt that the planned 50 000 square meters would be filled, taking the Maria 01 community to triple the size of what it is today, putting Helsinki and Finland on the top of the list of startup flagships globally.
The overruling made by Helsinki Administrative Court has no impact on our current campus in the northern part of the area, and we will continue our existing operations stronger than ever, keeping our focus on helping our startups grow every day of the year!
CEO, Maria 01
Startup community members since 2008