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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Historic factory buildings up for sale

Property making up Oslo’s historic Freia chocolate factory, which was bought by Kraft Foods of the US nearly 20 years ago, looks destined to be put on the market. The site in Oslo’s Rodeløkka district is best-known for its outdoor park and factory canteen, which is decorated with paintings by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.

A sale is being closely watched by state and city conservation officials, but newspaper Aftenposten reports it’s viewed positively because it could open up the legendary buildings to the public. Until now, only Freia employees have had regular access to, for example, the Munch-decorated canteen.

Freia was founded by the Throne Holst family in the late 1800s and quickly became Norway’s major candy and chocolate maker. Johan Throne Holst wanted nice surroundings for Freia workers, which led to the creation of the outdoor park where concerts were held in summer months, and not least the artwork that Munch painted in 1923 and placed in the new canteen building in 1934.

Its panoramic windows look out on the park, and real estate developers envision the property may be attractive as a restaurant or some other form of public building, combining office and retail space. A restaurant, according to some experts like developer Christian Ringnes, would be “very special” and an “attraction” in itself.

Kraft Foods wants to sell because it’s now only using parts of the building and thus has excess space. Production of the candy still being made in the factory buildings will continue, managing director Asgeir Moripen told Aftenposten.

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