Finland's new designer retail centre takes shape

Finland’s first waterfront designer outlet, Kotka Old Port, is located between Helsinki and St Petersburg and is ideally placed to attract Russian tourists.

The development will house more than 200 boutique stores alongside the existing National Maritime Museum. A marina, ferry and cruise ship terminal will ensure access to the stores and to a selection of hotels and restaurants, plus a casino. The developers are hoping to receive planning permission for the centre by May 2015.

Architect AHR, one of Europe’s biggest practices, has designed the scheme for Kotka Old Port. It has been inspired by traditional Finnish fishing villages, with an array of buildings located around the harbour and marina facilities.

International property group GVA Sawyer is the originator of the scheme, which has considerable support from the local authorities. “Everyone knows Kotka in Finland. It has a great image and a strong brand. It’s very easy to fall in love with the city of Kotka – with its excellent position between Europe and Russia,” says Mayor of Kotka Henry Lindelöf.