The board of the City of Stockholm wants Stockholmsmässan (Stockholm International Fairs) in Älvsjö to be sold and demolished, to make way for a new city district with around 2,000-2,500 new homes, writes Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN). “We will develop the area, and sell the fair concept. The trade fair has had a couple of difficult years, and while trade fair activities are important, it is not important that the city itself owns the trade fair concept”, says finance mayor Karin Wanngård (Social Democratic Party), in an interview with DN.
The plan is to build 2,000-2,500 homes, but there are also plans for 10,000 new workplaces. The sports areas that currently exist in the area will be developed into a sports hub. In the long term, the new district will be a vibrant mixed city. Around the turn of the year 2023/2024, the urban planning committee will begin work on a programme, and the first sod can be turned sometime around 2030, according to Karin Wanngård. It is unclear which premises will replace the 70,000 square metre Stockholmsmässan, but Karin Wanngård mentions Kistamässan and Waterfront in the interview with DN.
As recently as August, the Moderate Party in the City of Stockholm made the proposal to sell the fair. According to information from the magazine Fastighetsvärlden, Christofer Fjellner (Moderate Party) wanted the fair operations to move to the smaller fairs in Kista or Arlanda City. In a motion, he wrote that the site of the Stockholm Fair could be developed into a neighbourhood like Norra Djurgårdsstaden or become the capital’s first neighbourhood built entirely out of wood.
The fact that Stockholmsmässan is Scandinavia’s largest exhibition centre, with its 70,000 square metres in what the city itself calls The Capital of Scandinavia, is not something the ruling politicians seem to view as a problem. The fair in Kista and the one in Arlanda City will, of course, get the chance to take over several fair concepts, but it seems more doubtful that Waterfront will be able to replace Stockholmsmässan as the city’s international congress centre. Perhaps it is time for a major investment in Arlanda City. Being close to an airport is, after all, every exhibition and congress centre’s dream. It is doubtful that today’s politicians in Stockholm understand that trade fairs and large meetings are vital parts of a meta industry that helps all other industries develop. The expansion plans of the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers in Gothenburg are now even more interesting for the development of many organisations and associations.