Ministry ruling allows pulling down San Siro


Guiseppa Meazza Stadium - San Siro Image: Mannion

The San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, can be pulled down following the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC) ruling that the facility does not present any “cultural interest”.

The San Siro Stadium – also known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza – is the home of Italian Serie A football clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan.

In November last year, the Municipality of Milan with city representatives, including Mayor Giuseppe Sala, have always questioned the clubs’ intention to knock down the San Siro. In this regard, the Municipality of Milan had put a request to the MiBAC against demolishing San Siro. The MiBAC ruling comes through the Regional Commission for the Cultural Heritage of Lombardy following the civic body’s plea.

The aforementioned decision has removed a major hurdle from the clubs’ plans that would see some of the current San Siro retained as part of a multiuse complex alongside a new 60,000-seat facility.

The new stadium is the key element in a wider €1.2 billion ($1.31 billion) real estate plan for the district, which includes dismantling almost the entire historic San Siro arena, home ground of both teams.

Although approval from heritage authorities is not the final decision, it is an important step towards implementing the plan.

The Municipality of Milan was trying to figure out for a long time how much architectural value the San Siro carried, before giving the final nod to the new development. MiBAC has ruled that the stadium should not be granted protected status as following repurposing work several times, only a small element of the oldest part of the stadium, opened in 1926, is left in place.

The ruling reads, “It is, at present, an architectural artefact in which the original stadium of 1925-26 and the expansion of 1937-39 are completely residual with respect to subsequent adjustments made in the second half of the 20th century and therefore not subject to the ‘heritage protection’ provisions, since they do not date back over 70 years.”

The San Siro first opened in 1926, most notably for Italy’s staging of the 1990 FIFA World Cup™. AC Milan has called the stadium home since it opened, while Inter started using the San Siro in 1947.

Certain portion of San Siro will be retained as a historical symbol of the iconic venue. Media reports stated that the ruling paves the way for a final deal between the two clubs and the Municipality for the multipurpose complex. It added that the deal could be struck in a matter of days.

Earlier this month, AC Milan and Inter Milan made public fresh details on two proposals to create the new stadium and sports and entertainment district. The clubs have submitted a preparatory document for the feasibility project to the Municipality of Milan. It follows constructive dialogue between the clubs and the Municipality in accordance with the 16 conditions laid down by the Municipality and the City Council in November last year.

In January, the clubs revealed ambitious plans for the future of San Siro, highlighting how the venue would be transformed into a destination for sports and entertainment events. Earlier, the clubs had said they were ready to work on alternative proposals for the San Siro but were not comfortable with the idea of retaining the stadium as a venue for professional sports if a new facility is developed.

The city council gave plans for a new stadium a “conditional yes” back in October, with the proviso that a part of San Siro will have to be retained. The development came after the two clubs announced in September that Populous and Manica/Sportium had been zeroed in to design a new 60,000-seat stadium which both AC Milan and Inter Milan would share.

Populous and Manica/Sportium-designed concept allow retaining a part of the current San Siro within a new retail and sports district that could be used the year through. The district would include about 106,000 square meters of green space and feature retail, sports, cultural and leisure activities, including a running track, cycle path, outdoor gym, skateboard park, five-a-side football pitch and sports museum.

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