This was to be Poland’s first public-private partnership to build a stadium. We now know it’s not happening as all three bidders withdrew their interest. Football club Widzew blames the city, city blames economy…
New 33,000-seater for one of Poland’s most popular clubs – Widzew Łódź – was to the first one built mostly with private funding and in partnership with the municipality as well. City of Łódź was to cover expenses for road infrastructure and main grandstand. Private partner was to build remaining three stands and cover expenses from generated income.
Three companies started negotiations with Łódź officials after expressing their interest. Budus, Budimex and Hellmich Inwestycje Polska (first two with significant stadium construction experience) all withdrew their interest at the last moment – was announced yesterday at the city hall.
Reasoning behind their decision is very simple. Estimates show that the stadium would not only have difficulty in generating income, it would most certainly bring losses of over 10 million zloty (€2.5 million and more) every year. This means none of the private contribution would pay back, unless the city provided subsidies, which was ruled out.
The fiasco confirms what football side Widzew have been suggesting recently, that Łódź set unrealistic rules to the partnership which may result in bidders passing on the project. Despite Widzew’s bitter comments toward city officials, mayor Hanna Zdanowska assures the city has already some 155 million (just below €40 million) set aside for the stadium project. As for reasons behind the PPP failure, she claims economy is very unfriendly at this time.