FC Aarau venue plans get stuck in red tape



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Aarau new stadium Image: HRS Real Estate

The Swiss football club FC Aarau have been waiting for a new dig since 1994 (!). However, it seems the long-delayed new arena will not be delivered until at least 2026, perhaps as late as 2028! If that is the case, it might so be that the Swiss club may not get a new home at all.

The authorities involved are reportedly dragging their feet over the whole development. Even if things on the new venue front (Torfeld Süd) moves two steps forward, again everything takes a backseat.

FC Aarau is a Swiss football club based in Aarau, Switzerland. They play in the Swiss Challenge League, the second tier of Swiss football after being relegated from the Swiss Super League. The club’s residence is Stadion Brügglifeld.

Stadion Brügglifeld is a multipurpose stadium in Aarau, Switzerland. It is primarily used for football matches and is the home stadium of FC Aarau. The current capacity is 9,249 seats, which includes 1,499 covered seats.

The residents have already given their thumbs-up to the 10,000-capacity private arena – Torfeld Süd – in two separate democratic votes by a strong majority of over 60 percent. The voting was on approval for change of local zoning in order to allow the project to move forward.

After the residents gave the go-ahead way back in 2019, it was expected that the first, non-binding building permit would be greenlighted.

However, that did not happen and as per media reports, the first date for the building permit is summer of 2021. An appeal was launched against the project, as has been the case on all previous occasions. And while nearly half of all signatories have already backed out of the complaint, it could still go all the way to the administrative court and then to the federal court. In the worst case scenario, this could take up to two years – all mired in red tapism.

If the zoning revision gets the nod by the Government council, things on the stadium front will be able to move forward provided further objections are not raised by the opponents of the stadium during objection negotiations within the City Council.

If everything goes on track, it’s expected that the building permit application will be filed within the City by developer HRS in Spring of 2021. The application will, of course, be subject to several reviews by the administration and can be challenged once more.

Media reports stated that the stadium could be ready for use in 2026, but it could also be such that the fans will have to wait until 2028-29 to see a game at Torfeld Süd!

If the stadium at all sees the light of day in 2028-29, by then it might be so that the entire scheme might no longer be economically viable and HRS could even have second thoughts on being a part of the development. Going by the fact that the design was first presented in 2008 and since then it has already been revised entirely, and the planned shopping center has been done away with in favor of a residential tower. How profitable the whole project will be by 2028-29 is a million-dollar question.

Since a new venue for FC Aarau dates back to 1994, the only flicker of hope is that the people opposing the development tooth and nail may fall short of cash as challenging the decision at every level is an expensive affair.

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