Milan clubs cross swords with city council over stadium project

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San Siro update Jan 2020 Image: Populous

The Italian professional football clubs and sporting giants – AC Milan and Inter Milan – laid out their visions as to how one of the legendary houses of the footballing world – San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy – could be preserved.

However, the City Council of Milan is not very open to the idea.

The whole exercise took place at the Milan City Hall in Italy recently. The stadium would be revamped and will serve as major leisure center for the public.

On December 3 last year, the Milan City Hall authorities asked both the Serie A clubs to mull if Stadio Giuseppe Meazza – commonly known as San Siro – could be saved for the purpose of hosting professional youth and women’s games. The reply given in mid-December was a firm ‘No’.

The city did not stop at this and asked for something almost out of the box – to rethink the public spaces so that they include parts of San Siro, preserving the historical stadium as a monument for generations. The sporting giants then seemed open to the idea.

Both the clubs and the two design firms who are competing to bag the final project (Manica and Populous) are willing to retain portions of the facility as part of the vast sports and leisure district.

Manica concept

One rendering, prepared for the Manica concept, visualizes the east facade of San Siro be left intact, as well as one of the four towers (south-east). The tower would be topped with a new eatery which would provide a sweeping view to guests – stunning panorama of the city. The east side would provide facade for multi-level leisure centre, topped with public green areas.

Populous concept

The Populous idea has not been unraveled so far. But, it is being hinted that all towers would be knocked down along with the roof and third tier. Outer walls of the lower two tiers (except for the west side) would remain, as well as the staircases of 1950s. They would create a historical C-shaped envelope for similar leisure complex, including amateur sports facilities, retail space and public green.

Deadlocked, kind of

All said and done, no agreement has yet been reached on what the future holds for San Siro. As part of their initial plans, the clubs made it clear that they wished to do away with their current venue and in lieu of it hotels, shops and offices would come up among other things.

However, the City Council of Milan has always opposed this idea tooth and nail. It now looks like San Siro will remain standing but a clear picture has not emerged as to how much of it will stay standing and what it will be used for in the future.

“Things are going better, the two clubs have now understood that the idea of saving San Siro is not habitual. We want to keep the space and dedicate it to sports that currently have no place in the city,” stated Milan city Mayor Giuseppe ‘Beppe’ Sala.

“I like that the two clubs came to me and showed me possible solutions for the area which could be very economical and very dedicated to sport. If it becomes a sports city and it satisfies both them and us, it can be done. I do not want to create problems. There is no formal deadline, but I believe it will be within a few weeks now. If something is decided, it is decided.”

Both variants would guarantee that the old-new spaces would become available to the public freely and constantly. Milan and Inter released a post-meeting statement, assuring that further work will be carried out to determine how exactly such spaces could be created.

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