France: Polish owner to build new stadium for Nantes?
source: 20minutes.fr / Ouest-France.fr; author: michał
Waldemar Kita's new plan is to deliver a brand new stadium with private funds rather than expect money from taxpayers' coffers. This time public authorities seem more keen on talking.
This summer Stade de la Beaujoire has undergone major changes. Ahead of the 2017/18 Ligue 1 season seats have been replaced throughout the stadium, along with the pattern selected by fans back in 2016.
Two areas without new seating are the terraces for away fans and the most vocal home supporters. These stands will have special seats without backrests to allow constant standing and will be installed by the end of the year.
While this is the largest seating replacement in many years, the 33-year-old stadium is far behind other grounds across France, especially having missed out on Euro 2016. But the official policy of local authorities, who own the building, has been constant for years: no more unncessary spending on La Beaujoire.
Ever since taking over at the club in 2007, Polish owner Waldemar Kita has been appealing for the stadium to be either upgraded seriously or demolished and replaced altogether. To no effect, obviously.
Now Kita's plan is different. Instead of expecting public funds to cover the project, he has been revealed to work on a private scheme to replace La Beaujoire. The idea cited by 20minutes.fr is to build a 40,000-capacity stadium just west of the current one, in the place of current parking site. This would enable constant use of the old venue until new one is opened (even if compromised in terms of traffic) and then demolition of La Beaujoire.
And as much as the public officials were sceptical about previous plans, now there seems to be openness to dialogue, with vice-president of Nantes Metropole calling the ideas interesting.