Nantes: Two stadia side by side? What's the point?

source: 20minutes.fr / PresseOcean.fr / FCNantes.com / YelloPark.fr

Nantes: Two stadia side by side? What's the point? It's been the talk of town since late Friday, when mayor Johanna Rolland announced her decision to both approve the construction of a new stadium and prohibit demolition of the old one. Now everyone wanders... is there a plan at all?

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There's cause for celebration, regret and amusement in Nantes, apparently. The developer Réalités regrets that YelloPark as an entirety will not be built, FC Nantes celebrates approval for a new stadium, while nobody really knows what should happen to Stade de la Beaujoire now that it's not set for demolition anymore. Let's get back to the start, then.

On Friday mayor Johanna Rolland announced that she decided to give the green light to FC Nantes' proposed new stadium, worth some €200 million and able to hold 40,000 people. It's thus no wonder that the football team expressed its gratitude and celebrated in an official statement.

At the same time, however, Rolland confirmed she would not agree for the non-sporting part of YelloPark to be built, which explains the regret from Réalités. They won't deliver the 1,500 homes, plus secondary commercial space (already largely reduced compared to initial plans), which were planned as part of YelloPark. In short, the stadium rendered below is to be built, all smaller buildings - not.

YelloPark

And third part of the decision, surely the most surprising one, is to preserve Stade de la Beaujoire. Rolland has failed to explain the logic behind two stadiums side by side. While she did mention similar situations existing in Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris, among other French cities, these are in fact completely different cases.

Both in Lyon and Bordeaux the old football stadiums have been taken over by strong rugby teams, while in Paris it's the rugby stadium that is new, built to meet demand, and the football stadium is old and too small. In Nantes there's no demand for two large stadiums.

YelloPark

Whichever venue gets FC Nantes games will get the necessary revenue to stay alive. But the other one will basically be obsolete. The local rugby team Stade Nantais is a 3rd league club and draws crowds of some 1,500 people, far cry from the 30,000 available at La Beaujoire. Even with reduction in mind the gap is still immense.

Another issue, raised by association A La Nantaise, vocal opponents of YelloPark, is the fact that such solution was never considered publicly. Which raises the question about validity of the public consultation process in general.

As of now the decision is not considered final. It needs to be discussed and voted upon by the city council, which is expected to happen on December 7.

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