Central Deck and Arena – Pioneering real estate development project featuring Finland’s largest multi-purpose arena in Tampere city centre

We acted as counsel for OP Financial Group’s insurance and pension insurance companies and LocalTapiola Group in an arrangement in which said investors agreed, together with SRV Yhtiöt Oyj, on the implementation of the Central Deck and Arena project located in the Tampere city centre. As a part of the arrangement, said investor group formed a consortium together with the City of Tampere for the purposes of the development of the multi-purpose Central Arena.

The Central Deck and Arena project will feature Finland’s largest multi-purpose arena, an adjoining hotel and casino, five residential and office tower buildings with approximately 1,000 apartments as well as a parking facility. The total floor area of the building complex will be approximately 120,000 m2. Further, the project also involves the development of six apartment buildings in the Ranta-Tampella lakeside area in Tampere. The construction works will be executed in stages with the target that the Central Arena will open in 2021. The overall building complex is estimated to be completed by 2024.

A prominent feature of the project is that the building complex will be constructed on an aboveground deck that extends over the existing railway tracks in the Tampere city centre, thus, constituting an entirely new commercial, residential and events district. 

The total value for the Central Deck and Arena project is estimated to amount to EUR 550 million. The project financing of the Central Arena is envisaged to include EUR 18 million in state aid, which was approved by the European Commission in 2017. Further, the City of Tampere will contribute to the project with an investment of a maximum of EUR 60 million with a majority of the financing directed into development of the Central Arena and the construction of the Arena deck.

As counsel for the investors, we had a key role in providing support for our clients in their investment decision-making and the preparation and negotiation of the central agreements concerning the terms and the conditions of the investment under the joint venture agreement between the investors and SRV as well as the shareholders’ agreement for the Central Arena between the investors, SRV and the City of Tampere. Further, we assisted the investors in the preparation and negotiation of key project agreements ranging from the land use and acquisition agreements related to the deck, the railway area and the real properties, operator and cooperation agreements for the Central Arena and commercial lease agreements to the agreement on the use of the Central Deck in the railway area entered into with the Finnish Transport Agency.

Our involvement also included the negotiation of the financing documentation with the financiers of the Central Arena comprising Nordea Bank, Tampereen Seudun Osuuspankki, Svenska Handelsbanken and LocalTapiola.

The Central Deck and Arena is a prime example of Castrén & Snellman’s wide-ranging expertise in real estate development projects, combining expertise in real estate and construction law and real estate transactions with finance as well as competition and public procurement expertise.