Library for sale: Price: 58 million

On Wednesday, the old Deichman Library will be put up for sale. Price: NOK 58.6 million. The buyer must guarantee that the population of Oslo can still use sections of the building.

Just one week before the opening of the new Deichman Library in Bjørvika, the library’s former home is being put up for sale on the open market.

– This is a unique building, says the Oslo City Commissioner for Urban Planning, Hanna Marcussen (MDG).

Neither local nor national bodies wished to utilise the old library building. For this reason, it was decided that the 12,500 square-metre building would be sold.

Several interested parties have already visited to survey the property, but the commissioner won’t say who they are. However, what is certain is that the buyer will get several requirements along with their purchase.

At the end of May, a committee formed by the City of Oslo suggested establishing an interfaith centre at Deichman. Raymond Johansen (AP), the Governing Mayor of Oslo, called the suggestion a good idea but was uncertain whether it was realistic. The Kristiania University College has previously stated that they wish to purchase Deichman’s old premises in the city centre.

– Among other things, it comes with a usufruct agreement. It entails that the population of Oslo and visitors to the city must be given access to parts of the building in the future as well. This includes the entrance to the Government Quarter, the main hall with its associated roof terrace, mezzanine and outdoor areas, says Marcussen.

And that’s not the end of it. Much of the inventory, which is specially made for the building, is included in the purchase. These furnishings must remain in the building regardless of Deichman’s function in the future.

Large backlog

One thousand children participated in moving 7000 books to the new Deichman Library in Bjørvika. Photo: Morten Uglum

Veridian Analyse determined that the building should be sold for 58.6 million Norwegian kroner. In addition, there are maintenance fees for an additional 64 million, 1.8 million of which are considered immediate measures.

-This hasn’t been a simple building to appraise. There are no comparable objects. In addition, considerations have been made for the maintenance backlog. This is often high for such old buildings. There is also the consequence of constructing a new government quarter right next door, says Eskil Bråten, director of the Office of Real Estate and Urban Renewal in Oslo.

The facility has a strong conservation value. The new owner must comply with instructions from the city’s cultural heritage office.

– This is why we aren’t giving an asking price as usual. This is a presumed market value’, says Bråten.

– That means it could end up either more expensive or cheaper?

– Absolutely. Veridian operates with a differential of plus/minus 15 per cent. Only now can we see how much the parties out there are willing to pay, says Bråten.

Not a shopping mall

Commissioner Hanna Marcussen doesn’t think the old Deichman will end up being a shopping mall.

– As a lot of the interior is included in the purchase, giving it a unique atmosphere, it probably wouldn’t suit an ordinary shopping mall, says Marcussen.

She feels that there are many options, however.

-It could become a hotel or conference venue combined with a restaurant, entertainment, or cultural building, like Sentralen. The most important thing is that the population can participate in it, she says.

Development on the property is to be complete within eight years after hand-over. The City of Oslo has also ensured itself the right of first purchase if the building is sold or is set to change owners in the future.

– How much of an issue is it that a new government quarter is going to be built wall-to-wall just as the new Deichman is set to begin operations?

– The Government Quarter is a very special neighbour. It will certainly entail a lot of noise during the construction period. Deichman will also partially be within the security perimeter of the new Government Quarter, says Marcussen.

Veridian Analyse AS

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