In November 2021, the project "Kista Square Garden" was named Stockholm's hottest building according to a rating by the construction industry magazine Byggvärlden. No other project currently attracts as much coverage as this one. Everyone wants to know what will happen as Ericsson's old office becomes housing.
The transformation of Ericsson's previous office property is undeniably a hot topic right now. As one of Kista's most central properties, this is perhaps not so surprising. The block is positioned in the middle of Stockholm's IT cluster, right next to Kista Galleria, but this is also an area that is currently suffering from a lack of lively streets. It’s time for a twist!
When real estate company Klövern, which today owns the Kista Square Garden project, converts the property, its goal is to create a combination of housing and public spaces that will contribute to a more dynamic urban environment.
“We see Kista as an area with enormous potential,” says Patrik Mellgren, CEO of Klövern. “And today's development plans for the district make sure to take advantage of that. That’s why this is a enormously exciting project for us. With Kista Square Garden we have started the first major project that can really contribute to the development of a vibrant district.”
At least 1,000 apartments and an oasis
The property, which was designed by Ahrbom Fahlsten, was originally built in 1985. Today it has six floors, with the building right allowing for an extension of a couple more floors. It also allows for a new courtyard house and an extension to Jan Stenbeck's square.
Once it is completed, the property will accommodate approximately 1,000 rental apartments – studios, as well as one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, between 24 and 55 square meters – combined with 10,000 square meters of commercial space. All apartments in the extension have balconies. The fact that the block is both large and square also means that everyone who lives there will have access to their own oasis in the form of a large, green and lush courtyard – something that is uncommon in Kista.
While the courtyard is not fully planned at this stage, the idea is to create opportunities for both community gardens and quiet places for people who just want to sit for a while. As part of the courtyard house, Klövern also wants to include a common room for garden parties as well as private celebrations. In addition, it intends to convert a quarter of the roof space into a roof terrace for residents.
Choosing businesses with care
Klövern will also manage the property once it has been converted and it is understood that as a long-term owner of the property, business tenants will be chosen with care, to elevate the premises and contribute to a better whole. Exactly what types of activities there will be in the commercial premises has not yet been decided but plans are being made for restaurants, cafés, entertainment, culture, services and an open preschool. There will likely also be a grocery store and perhaps a gym.
“The most important thing is that they are businesses that strengthen the place and contribute to a district with life and movement even outside office hours,” says Patrik Mellgren. “On the apartment side, we also plan to create opportunities for organizations to rent a certain number of apartments. This will help companies and schools, for example, to attract people from other parts of Sweden, or from different countries.”
Good transport connections
The property is not only next to Kista Galleria and the metro, it is also close to commuter trains, buses and the two major roads, E4 and E18. In addition, the new light rail line, Tvärbanan, will soon have a station just outside the entrance to Jan Stenbeck’s square (there are four entrances). There is a large garage in the block and there is work underway to include some form of car pool solution. In addition, there will be bicycle storage for approximately 1,500 bicycles.
Unique, with two Nordic Ecolabel certifications
With the opportunity to preserve and reuse a previous office building, instead of demolishing and building new, Klövern wants to work sustainably and try to create a building that is as climate-smart as possible. Technically, this means keeping the office building's frame and update with modern installations. Both construction waste and interior parts must be inventoried, sorted and reused as mcuh as possible. Gypsum walls from the offices can, for example, be reused for the construction of apartment walls, while existing lighting fixtures are sent to a company that converts them into LEDs and resells them. Other planned solutions are the reuse of excess heat from future tenants, which is known to generate extreme amounts of heat. There could also be an investment in solar cells.
Kista Square Garden is the first building project that will have two official Nordic Swan Ecolabel certifications. On the one hand, the project is the starting point for "The Swan Renovation". On the one hand, the entire building will be Swan-certified – which places demands on everything from energy consumption and sustainable material choices to wellbeing in the form of, for example, daylight.
“We are really looking forward to contributing to the huge development of Kista. With Kista Square Garden, we will add newly produced, compact living homes in a really good location,” says Patrik Mellgren. “It also feels good that we can preserve and reuse instead of demolishing and building new.”
The move-in date for apartment residents is planned to take place between 2024 and 2026.