Reykjavík City Council Approves Sale of Iconic Perlan Skip to content

Reykjavík City Council Approves Sale of Iconic Perlan

By Ragnar Tómas

Perlan Öskjuhlíð haust autumn
Photo: Photo: Golli. Perlan on Öskjuhlíð.

The Reykjavík City Council has authorised the sale of the landmark Perlan building and two adjacent water tanks in Öskjuhlíð, with a combined real estate value nearing ISK 4 billion ($30 million / €28 million). Acquired by the city in 2013, Perlan has since transformed from a financial burden into a profitable tourist attraction, according to a press release from the City of Reykjavík.

Property office greenlights sale

In a meeting held yesterday, Reykjavík City Council greenlit the finance and risk management division – also known as the property office – to initiate the sale of the iconic Perlan and two adjacent water tanks in Öskjuhlíð. The properties boast a combined real estate value nearing ISK 4 billion ($30 million / €28 million).

According to an official press release, Perlan was constructed by Hitaveita Reykjavíkur, the city’s district heating company (which later merged with Rafmagnsveita Reykjavíkur to form Reykjavík Energy). The landmark building, inaugurated in 1991, was acquired by the City of Reykjavík in 2013, along with two water tanks from Reykjavík Energy.

At the time of acquisition, Perlan was a financial drain, generating revenue barely covering its real estate taxes and land rent. However, the past decade has witnessed a remarkable operational turnaround, according to the press release, with revenue now significantly exceeding costs. The property is currently leased to Perla norðurins ehf., which has transformed it into a popular Reykjavík tourist attraction.

The press release further highlighted Perlan’s evolution over the years, noting its diverse offerings, including exhibitions, restaurants, and a viewing platform that provides panoramic vistas of the capital and surrounding mountains. “The venue also features an array of attractions such as an ice cave, an observatory, and interactive exhibits on Icelandic nature and culture.”

“The properties present substantial opportunities for future development, and it’s not necessarily in the city’s best interest to spearhead that growth,” the release stated. “The total area of the building and tanks is approximately 5,800 square metres, with a real estate valuation of ISK 3,942,440,000.”

The case will go to the City Council for final approval on September 19.

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