Lying-in-the-cans AS Roma project gets nod



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AS Roma new stadium July 2020 Image: L'industria di Architectura srl

It is almost a too good to be true kind of news. Italian professional football club AS Roma has been given the green light to start construction for their stadium in Tor di Valle in Rome, Italy.

The development has been hanging fire for eight years now and not a single brick has been laid.

Now, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel after Municipal Experts for Mobility and Transport gave the thumbs-up recently for the stadium to come up.

Stadio della Roma is the temporary name for Serie A team AS Roma’s planned stadium in the Tor di Valle neighborhood of Rome. A formal name for the stadium will be decided after naming rights are awarded, but is still uncertain over how long it will take to open the stadium.

The Municipal Experts’ report followed a detailed review of all documentation, which also delivered no irregularities.

Once the City Council votes for the project and everything goes smoothly at Assemblea Capitolina (read City Council), AS Roma could start construction on their long-cherished stadium in the coming months. Nobody knows the outcome of the vote but optimism remains for the Giallorossis.

No date has been set for the City Council vote but it is expected to happen soon once they evaluate the documents.

The project enjoys the support of the Italian political party Five Star Movement (M5S) who hold a narrow majority of 27 out of 48 mandates. It seems M5S is firm on pushing the project through with an eye on the 2021 re-election campaign to brighten the chance of their party’s member and Rome Mayor, Virginia Raggi.

However, even some of the Opposition parties have an open mind as regards the project.

The project files were gathering dust for months together after corruption charges surfaced in 2018 in which a major stakeholder, Luca Parnasi, was sent behind bars among nine people. This prompted a thorough review of all documents associated with the stadium in order to ensure there are no criminal irregularities.

Parnasi’s place as co-investor of the project has been taken by Czech businessman Radovan Vitek, who is now acquiring plots required to implement the project.

The corruption scandal is only one among several issues in which the project was mired. In the very beginning, the initial scheme was nixed down and required to be reduced in scale (commercial part) before being accepted by the City hall and conference of services. Overall, the development has suffered several setbacks since the idea of a private AS Roma stadium was announced in 2012 and the design was presented in 2014.

The soccer-specific venue is expected to fit in nearly 52,600 people, with option to exceed 60,000 if demand warrants such a move. The arena price tag itself will come to over €400 million, while all of the complex in Tor di Valle could exceed €1 billion.
 

Stadio della Roma rewind

In March 2014, AS Roma presented the long-awaited new stadium concept. As expected, the concept has been inspired by the Coliseum, represented in a modern façade, lightweight despite being partly stone-clad.

Three tiers for fans are being offered in the seating layout thus facilitating to accommodate 52,500 people with potential to increase to 60,218, should such a demand arise. The stands don’t form closed rings as the southern end, Curva Sud, is detached from others. It’s expected to draw up to 13,600 most ardent supporters. Meanwhile, the west and east sides will host 50 skyboxes.

The entire stadium will be topped by a light membrane roof with panoramic giant screen. The scheme foresaw groundbreaking in 2014, while construction should last more than 24 months. But, everything came unstuck and years started rolling by – to late 2015, then 2016 and eventually 2017.

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