It’s located literally beside the sea. Well, not exactly the sea but the Kanmon Straits, but still. The new Kitakyushu stadium will be a very interesting addition to Japanese football.
Plans of building a Brand New stadium in Kitakyushu (1 million inhabitants, not far from Fukuoka) were born in 2010. This is when local team Giravanz for the first time ever advanced to the second league. Initially capacity was expected to be below 10,000, but eventually it was agreed that it should meet the J1 League minimum of 15,000.
After analysis of three possible location, a somewhat unique selection was done. The stadium will be built on a waterfront. With the east stand kept very low and just meters away from the water, fans in all other areas of the stadium will get a view of the Kanmon Straits waters that divide Honshu and Kyushu islands.
Of course it wasn’t the location that prompted such choice of site. This central area of Kitakyushu is very well connected in terms of public transport, including even a station of the high-speed rail Shinkansen. Majority of fans are to arrive via mass transportation instead of individual cars due to lack of parking space. The stadium itself is being built on a former parking site, but will have less than 80 vehicle bays outside.
Construction was launched in April 2015 and is expected to last until March 2017. By the end of September all of the roof should be complete and all of the stadium should be structurally ready by year end.
Entire budget was expected to remain within ¥10 billion, but grew to some 11.5 billion reportedly ($111m), following the addition of roof over two more stands (initially only the west one was to be covered). In 2016 the city of Kitakyushu was awarded 3 billion in subsidy from the state lottery.
Thanks to the new stadium being built in such an accessible location, it’s expected to become a training base during the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics.