Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 21, 2017


Store Norske hoping to build 21 new housing complexes
Store Norske is hoping to ease Longyearbyen’s sudden housing shortage by building new apartment buildings in Gruvedalen in an accelerated process beginning this spring, according to company officials.

“We’re initially thinking 12 buildings, two-by-two grouped together. Each building covers about 200 square meters and has parking under the building,” said Sveinung Lystrup Thesen, the company’s property manager. The size and total number of residences is undetermined, but he said “if there were only built three-room apartments there would have been room for about 70.  So it will certainly become a somewhat lower number, depending on the number of larger family apartments.” The company hopes to have the first housing completed by the first half of next year. Store Norske is among the multiple property owners who have lost a significant amount of available housing due to avalanches and other hazards making the residences in sufficiently safe to live in.

Fate of two Elvesletta hotels uncertain; homes instead?
The fate of two proposed hotels at Elvesletta is uncertain and the land plots may now be used for new housing, according to government officials and the property owner.  Po Lin Lee, a Honk Kong native, proposed building one hotel in 2014, but leasing the designated plot of land is still under consideration, said Sveinung Lystrup Thesen, property manager for Store Norske. The matter is being reviewed by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, which did not respond to requests about why the matter is taking so long. Another hotel, abandoned by two potential buildings, is now being sought by Barlindhaug Property, which is still seeking financing and is uncertain when work might begin. Jens-Arne Johnsen, the company’s managing director, declined to comment when asked if housing might be a preferred alternative to a hotel.