It was an emotional and much welcome presentation, which immediately grabbed headlines of sports media across Croatia. Understandable, after years of stadium impotence, if you pardon the phrase.
We've covered some Croatian stadium designs, but in recent years only one actual new stadium of international standards. And even that one is only a training venue in Rijeka, not the actual new Kantrida. Kantrida, just like major projects announced in Zagreb, is still only available in renderings.
Unlike neighbouring Hungary and Slovenia, Croatia hasn't enjoyed much progress in terms of stadium infrastructure recently. This should now change with the help of Ivan Meštrović and, perhaps surprisingly, the Hungarian government. A new €35-40 million complex would be financied privately by the entrepreneur, but with aid from the Orban administration, which supports sports projects in areas with strong Magyar diaspora.
You can understand the enthusiasm across Croatian media. This project is funded without taxpayer money (at least for Croatian taxpayers, that is), which instantly makes it seem more viable in the land where public authorities continuously fail to deliver. Even better, it's hoped that planning permission would be granted in just a couple months, prompting construction this summer!
NK Osijek plan to build a state of the art stadium and training complex in the western Pampas district of the city. Location isn't accidental, it's where a new bridge over Drava River si planned and a high-capacity road to provide proper access. The entire site spans over 15.3 hectares.
The stadium itself has some interesting characteristics, although Croatian media in their first reaction focused on the one we wouldn't have thought of: it's going to be the first stadium across Croatia to provide fully-covered auditorium. Even better, the vast roof (188x150m) will stretch outside the stadium, ensuring shade or rain protection and making it a more friendly public area. Hovering over 20 meters above ground, it will be the landmark element. Associations with the Bordeaux stadium come to mind quite strongly, though.
The stadium's facade will be translucent, ensuring sufficient sunlight access by day to facilities beneath the stands. Divided into 12 horizontal rings, the facade would be illuminated in varying colours, making the stadium attractive by night.
Inside, there's room for 12,000 people and the seating, unsurprisingly, would represent the white and blue colours of NK Osijek. Roughly 550 seats would be of higher standard, of which 100 spread across 7 skyboxes. The most unseen feature of this stadium would be jacuzzi and sauna boxes overlooking the field (3 of each kind), though NK Osijek did not provide an explanation as to how the glass of a sauna room would be prevented from misting over.
Outside the stadium there's enough space for 7 full-sized football fields, 150 VIP parking places, 750 public parking places and a spacious public plaza.