In less than a month citizens will go to the ballots and decide, whether their tax money should be spent on a new football stadium. While cost went up, support for the project did the opposite.
On April 10 vast majority of Zurich's council members (101 for and 15 against) approved the project of new Hardturm stadium. It is to replace the old one, demolished ahead of Euro 2008, whose successor was later blocked.
It seemed almost certain back then that citizens will also support the stadium, especially with both top clubs being forced to use the athletic Letzigrund.
The new stadium is to be a modest one in terms of size (19,500 capacity) and aesthetics, fitting seamlessly into the urban fabric. But the cost, initially set at CHF 150 million, now stands at CHF 216 million. All of this sum is to be covered with a loan taken by Zurich municipality, while each club would pay some CHF 3-5 million per year for tenancy.
The cost increase raised some concerns and the sole idea of funding a public stadium for two private clubs also earned the project opposition. Will it be strong enough to block the stadium? This we shall know after the referendum planned for September 22.
What may work in the stadium's advantage is the concept of building 154 affordable apartments along with the stadium for further CHF 103 million. Interestingly, the vote will ask separate questions regarding the stadium and housing, but the residential development may only go ahead if the stadium is approved.