Today it’s one of the most uniquely located stadiums in the world. With rocks dominating the northern stand and Adriatic Sea just behind southern one, Kantrida offers a feel hardly comparable to any other venue. But if HNK Rijeka’s plans are to go forward, neither the rocks, nor the sea will remain visible.
The imagination of HNK Rijeka supporters was switched on in May, when club president Damir Miśković announced plans to completely rebuild the current Kantrida stadium. With the club playing in Europa League, ambitions are high and expectations are also going up.
Few details have been officially released since then, one of them being the budget. Very modest for a stadium of that size, standing at just €15 million ($20m). But at the same time it was announced that 70% of the project is to be funded privately by Social Sport and only 30% coming from the Rijeka municipality. This comes as guarantee of spending control, because entirely public investments tend to have overinflated budgets.
For the price HNK Rijeka is to get a football-only stadium (without existing running track) for 12,000 people, of whom 11,000 will be covered with light membrane roof. In the north, where current rock wall stands, a VIP/corporate pavilion is to be built, allowing most prominent guests to enter the stadium from the street, without having to walk down to the beach. With the plot tightly constrained remaining stands are to have two tiers each.
Images of the concept leaked in late July via YouTube, but were soon removed. Not soon enough for fans and media not to catch them, even though president Miśković himself claimed he hadn’t seen them before journalists did. Most importantly, however, he confirmed their authenticity.
On one hand the renderings raised eyebrows and resulted with enthusiasm, but on the other some criticism also came. The proposed vision may leave Kantrida without the most distinctive features, which earned the stadium global interest over the years. Neither the rocks, nor the sea would be visible in the proposed layout any more. And we have to admit, this is a really amazing view!