The Stadium Club ‘stadium’ project come apart



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Feyenoord to drop stadium plans Image: OMA architects

The die is cast – the Dutch professional football club Feyenoord is no longer going ahead with Feyenoord City, the project to build a new stadium at Rotterdam South in Netherlands.

The ‘Rijnmond’ stated that construction group BAM has informed the parties involved that the conditions for building the stadium have changed extremely. As a result, the Rotterdam club no longer considers it practical and feasible to continue with the long-term stadium project.

The Feyenoord Football Club is a Dutch professional football club in Rotterdam (Netherlands) that plays in Eredivisie, the top tier of Dutch football. The club’s home ground is the Feyenoord Stadium.

The 51,117-capacity Feyenoord Stadium, more commonly known by its nickname De Kuip, is a stadium in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It was completed in 1937. The name is derived from the Feijenoord district in Rotterdam, and from the club with the same name. The stadium’s original capacity was 64,000.

Royal BAM Group nv is a Dutch construction-services business with headquarters in Bunnik, Netherlands. It is the largest construction company based on revenue in the Netherlands.

The new stadium was just one part of an ambitious urban redevelopment plan for Southern Rotterdam, which incorporates the building of at least 3,700 new houses. The Feyenoord City project as a whole is priced at over €1.5bn.

The new stadium would have been the biggest, and most expensive, in the Netherlands.

The ‘Rijnmond’ further stated that for a long time, talks were on with the construction partner BAM to have the new stadium erected for a guaranteed construction price. The amounts and conditions discussed so far have changed considerably. Feyenoord has, therefore, decided that it is totally unrealistic to continue with the construction of a new arena. As there has been a steep hike in construction costs, Feyenoord is no longer open to the idea of building a new home facility.

Feyenoord is also quite enraged with BAM. Though talks have been going on with the BAM since 2019, the Dutch top-flight contend that not once did the construction company throw hint that there will be a huge jump in the price tag of their new planned home, something which is simply not acceptable to Feyenoord.

In October, new conditions were added and Feyenoord was in no mood to accept the same. The steep rise in the stadium price tag has been attributed to the rise in prices of raw materials, but reliable sources stated that the main cause for Feyenoord to back out was due to a change of course at BAM.

The construction company recently announced their new policy plan, which states that BAM will withdraw from projects which they consider to be “risky”. More than the huge price of raw materials, it is the price quoted by BAM which has not gone down well with the Eredivisie team. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the stadium can actually be built with the amount that was being discussed. This led to speculations among the stakeholders as to how willing BAM was to be involved with the project.

BAM is yet to comment on the entire issue.
 

Ripple effect

Before the end of this year, the multinational professional services network Deloitte will submit a report to the Rotterdam City Council, in which it will be assessed whether Feyenoord complies with the agreements made with the Municipality of Rotterdam. The agreements in the so-called ‘position paper’ are a condition for the municipality to participate in the stadium project for 40 million euros.

The assessment report will show that Feyenoord cannot meet all preconditions, now that no agreement has been reached with the construction company to build the new stadium. It will also rule out the participation of the municipality and this will be the final nail in the coffin of the Feyenoord City stadium project.

The ripple effect is that the Feyenoord Stadium will, in all likelihood, go bankrupt and the football club will suffer a loss of at least 2.8 million.

Feyenoord will have to look at alternative options of restructuring its present home ground. However, a decision on the same will not be taken in the immediate future.

It is but inevitable that the total area development of Rotterdam South will also suffer a significant delay as the new stadium plan has come unstuck. The zoning plan will have to be approved by the City Council once again. Plans will again have to be drawn out to develop Feyenoord City sans a new football stadium. However, everybody is prodding Feyenoord to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

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