At the annual conference of Estonian Commerce Association, SC Viru Keskus was awarded the “Commercial Achievement of the Year” award, but also earned the titles in categories of audience favorite and eco-innovation and future solution of the year. Viru Keskus recently underwent the most extensive reconstruction of its 20-year history as 90 percent of its space was fully renovated – a transformation from a classical fashion center into a modern, fully-functional city center with a whole new look, substance and energy. 86 new or renewed shops opened their doors, in addition the center provides a Food Hall unique in Estonia, as well as a Beauty Sphere with its health and wellness services.
Gertti Kogermann, the CEO of Viru Keskus, said the expectations of both the centre’s visitors and merchants have changed compared to 20 years ago. The renewed centre has more convenient and logical movement paths. Mini-atriums have been added near the Tamssaare and Hobujaama entrances, and green pillars with thousands of living plants have been erected, which add coziness and spaciousness to the center. “Of course, the most important thing is the fresh content and energy of the centre. Numerous services supporting traditional retail trade were added to the 39 stores that underwent a complete renovation, such as the Food Street, which is unique in Estonia, and the Beautysphere, which is dedicated to health and well-being,” said Kogermann.
In addition to the title of Commercial Achievement of the Year, Viru Keskus also earned the eco-innovation and future solution of the year award as its renovation process took into consideration the principles of the circular economy, recycling, and sustainability. For example, the old marble tiles from before were reused in the floor of the renovated atrium. “The renovation also covered plenty that’s invisible to the eye – technical systems, fire safety, security, and their automated controls, were also completely updated. In order to save energy and cut heating costs, the latest-technology heat exchange devices were connected to the heating and cooling system of the entire building, which directs excess cold or heat back into use,” Kogermann explained.
Renovation works were carried out without the center closing its doors even for a day and despite supply challenges caused by the pandemic and war in Ukraine. During the renovation, Viru Keskus also received the LEED O&M Platinum level sustainability certificate, the only shopping center in Baltics to achieve that.
The planning of the renovation began in cooperation with tenants in 2019, and the construction progressed in stages from 2021 until the reopening ceremony in May this year. The center’s updated interior design is the work of Wingårdhs, a renowned Swedish architectural company. The Estonian architectural firm 3+1 implemented the designs.
Photos Raul Meel, Kalev Lilleorg, Märt Lillesiim