New Old Downtown Rising

mbl.is/Árni Sæberg

Vala Hafstað

The construction of a new old downtown in Selfoss, Southwest Iceland, is well underway, Morgunblaðið reports. What makes the project special is that all the buildings have an old-fashioned look - thus, a ‘new old’ downtown.

Thirteen of the new buildings, comprising the first phase of the project, will be taken into use early this summer. They will house a food hall, a historical exhibition about skyr production, a café, shops, a bar, a music hall, and 13 apartments on the upper floors.

Photo/Árni Sæberg

The company in charge of the project is Sigtún development firm. Leó Árnason, president of the board of Sigtún, is very pleased with the progress. Mayor Gísli Halldór Halldórsson states that this development is important for the town of Selfoss.

All the houses are designed in an old-fashioned style and look like buildings that used to be located in Selfoss and elsewhere in the country, including one built in 1929, designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, who served as state architect at the time.

The town of Selfoss, with Ingólfsfjall mountain in the background.

The town of Selfoss, with Ingólfsfjall mountain in the background. Photo/Árni Sæberg

Once the new downtown opens, it will be accessible from the roundabout where you enter the town. The 13 new apartments will be listed for sale and ready in June.

This is just the beginning. More than 20 additional buildings remain to be constructed during phase II of the project. Those will house a hotel, stores, a bank, offices, and additional services. Leó states that work on the second phase will start this year.

One interesting feature to be offered in the new downtown is office space, where residents of Selfoss and vicinity who work in the capital area (a 45-minute drive from Selfoss) can work part of the week, instead of commuting to the city every day.

Leó points out that being able to work remotely from Selfoss part of the week will improve the quality of life there. He notes that by opening people’s eyes to the possibility of working remotely, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend.

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