The development project for Inter and AC Milan’s new stadium has been forced into a rethink after measures laid down by local authorities scuppered plans to knock down the two Italian soccer giants’ iconic San Siro home.
Populous and rival bidder Manica/Sportium will be forced to redraw their designs having both submitted plans for a new 60,000-seater stadium and entertainment district on the site of the existing venue.
Whilst the proposal for the Serie A clubs to build a new stadium passed, with 27 voting in favour, 11 voting against and seven committee members abstaining, it came with 16 conditions attached. Milan’s city council recommended to its mayor that the current project was unacceptable due to the development’s ‘excessive size’ and its focus on commercial facilities.
The most restrictive of those conditions referred to the necessity to retain the existing stadium in some way or another, meaning the San Siro would either have to be redeveloped - which has costs estimated as high as €250 million (US$278 million) - or simply left standing next to a new venue.
The local authority’s ruling also means any potential development at the San Siro site would be limited in its scope, compromising plans for an entertainment district. It also applies restrictions on the stadium’s capacity.
Commenting on the ruling, Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala said that reducing the capacity of the San Siro would be a “good solution”.
“The best solution for San Siro would be a combined solution, so a commercial space for development, but also a reduced capacity arena of use to the city,” he told local reporters.
“We need to understand if it is financially viable, but it would be the best thing for the city, seeing as football in Milan isn’t just Serie A, but also women’s football and youth teams.
“In that sense, a reduced capacity Stadio Meazza would be a good solution. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I ask the clubs to make a serious effort to find a new life for San Siro.”
Paolo Scaroni, AC chief executive, acknowledged the importance of the city’s vote but pointed out that there is an alternative. He said: “We have a plan B, also based on cooperation with Inter to share planning and costs.”
The other option floated by Scaroni is to build the new stadium in Sesto San Giovanni, an area that is located outside of the city council’s area of authority.