The Sörnäinen area has seen a rapid change in the past 10 years. Nowadays, the area has an amazing post-industrial feeling with the typical ruggedness of the outskirts of major cities – in both a good and a bad way. The true blossoming is yet to come over the next decade as the event area of Suvilahti, an old power plant, is developed even further and the Kalasatama harbour zone will be completed as a new residential area. The adjacent Abattoir/Teurastamo as well as the Kaikukatu clubbing hub give a special pulse to the neighbourhood.
The area known as Sörnäinen in the eastern downtown area is also known by the nicknames Sörkkä and Sörkka – and many of its 12,000 inhabitants are still debating what the "correct" name is.
The area was developed heavily from 1863 onwards when the train connection between the Pasila station and the Sörnäinen Harbour was opened. The port area housed several factories, a gasworks, and a coal plant. The transformation from an industrial zone into a residential area started in the 1970s from Merihaka, a Brutalist concrete apartment building area built on land reclaimed from the sea.
The industrial past of Sörnäinen is still visible and present, although new construction efforts keep changing the landscape. The part between the Sörnäinen Harbour area and the coal plant is being turned into a new seaside residential and workplace district accommodating 18,000 residents and 10,000 office workers called Kalasatama. The construction of residential buildings started in 2011 and the first buildings are already completed. The entire construction will be completed by the early 2030s.
Sörnäinen landmarks include the Sörnäisten kurvi ('the Curve') which is a busy intersection of public transportation routes, as well as the Suvilahti cultural centre in a former power plant with its gasometer and own microbrewery. Merihaka is home to one of Helsinki's public saunas. Kulttuurisauna is known for its minimalist architecture and was opened to the public in 2012.
This neighbourhood has plenty of good restaurants and bars. The bar complex found on Hämeentie includes one of the top electronic music clubs of Europe, according to international rankings.