After five years of continuous efforts it's finally moving forward and official groundbreaking should take place in February. Now preparatory work is to be carried out at what will become the most expensive stadium in Paris, at least for now.
First preparations to launch the project began in 2008. Since then various ideas were drawn, but always depicting a new and modern multi-use arena whose anchor tenant would be the rugby powerhouse Racing Metro 92. It's also the club's president behind the plan.
Jacky Lorenzetti wants the new stadium to become a future asset of the club and hopes to boost revenue with various non-sporting functions, like hosting office space, conference facilities and becoming the best concert venue in Paris.
Reaching this dream proved very difficult as a total of 21 protests were raised against the plans, mostly by local residents. Lorenzetti fails to sympathise with the fears mentioned, arguing the stadium's operation will bring 500 permanent jobs, 2,000 temporary and an annual boost of €21 million from event-associated tourism alone. He called attempts of stopping his dream “marasm, sinisterness and defeatism”.
Not only challenging in terms of reaching formal agreements, the project is also a very expensive one. In fact it proves more expensive than any existing competition for large events. Even the large Stade de France was cheaper at €290 million, while the new 32,000-seater at La Defense is priced at massive €350 million ($475m). Only the new national rugby stadium may beat that price, should it finally get built.
The price is caused by extensive facilities to accommodate various uses in the stadium, like a retractable roof, office and conference spaces and impressive (but still arguably aesthetic) architecture by famous Christian de Portzampac.
Work on the stadium was finally launched yesterday, on Monday. Although we have to wait for actual construction and even a groundbreaking ceremony, because that is planned for February 2014. From that point the stadium will require over two years to open, putting the inauguration in 2016.