Istanbul: Beşiktaş given green light to rebuild stadium
source: hurriyetdailynews.com; author: michał
Although the club is in serious financial difficulties, it doesn't intend to wait any longer with its project. Not now, when they received approval they waited so long for. Ground breaking has already been announced for May 2013.
Environment and Urban Planning Ministry approved a decision to demolish the historical stadium, located in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district. Then a new and modern stadium will be rebuilt in the same place with new facilities, ending the 65-year saga at current venue.
Both club officials and fans waited to hear this kind of news for several years during which a handful of designs were presented and then scrapped for similar reasons, mostly site constraints.
The stadium is a historical monument itself and is located in a very tight plot, with limits on each side. New stadium cannot grow too much around as roads surround it tightly. It cannot go up as well, with neighbouring Dolmabahce Palace being in the skyline. And finally, it cannot get sunken much more into the ground as the pitch is already below sea level (with sea being just 200 meters away).
Despite the constraints Beşiktaş decided to hang on their current location as there is no other plot able to fit a stadium throughout the Beşiktaş district. City planners are still unhappy with the plans as they'd wish for the old structure to be preserved and capacity not to grow as matchday traffic gives them a headache already.
But the crowds will grow, obviously. Capacity is expected to increase by some 10,000 (with most visible increase in premium seating). Cost of the stadium, surely over €100 million, is supposed to be covered by the club. Current financial situation at Beşiktaş is far from good, but the club are still determined to go forward with their project as it already has a 2-year delay from previous groundbreaking planned in May 2011. Currently the plan is to close the stadium right after last game of the season and begin demolition.