Construction of the fourth and last grandstand began in Łódź, at the ŁKS stadium. The contractor has also confirmed being a few months ahead of schedule, expecting to finish the whole project early.
It's a rare sight in Poland to have all officials involved smiling during yet another press conference on stadium progress. While usually large sporting projects are marred with delays, in Łódź it's the opposite. It had already been announced before that the contractor is expecting to deliver the stadium months before schedule.
But this week the main reason for a press conference in Poland's third largest city was different. Mirbud, the general contractor of the stadium, has received planning permission for the fourth grandstand of the ŁKS stadium and work is already very visibly underway.
© ŁKS Łódź
The fourth stand was initially expected not to be built in years, only to be added when ticket demand merits it. The empty hole behind the north goal would until then be used to host a concert stage.
That vision changed in 2018, when the municipality decided to launch a tender for all of the seating bowl rather than just two stands. Mirbud was able to begin work on the south and east stand immediately upon signing the contract (06/2019) but the north stand needed a separate planning application as no documentation for it was in place.
Now the north end is under construction, expected to bring total capacity narrowly over 18,000. This meets the city's promise to built two equal stadia for each of its two most famous football clubs. Widzew have been using theirs since 2017.
© ŁKS Łódź
The late addition of the north stand was used to accommodate further floor spaces within its blueprint. Some 3,100 m2 of office and commercial space will be created beneath the auditorium and the city is already working on a scheme to make it commercially appealing, while ŁKS are campaigning for negotiations with potential leaseholders to begin soon, long before the stand is ready.
Speaking of 'ready', the south stand's prefabricated rows are nearly all in place, with the east side catching up quickly. On both those stands roof girders are expected to arrive in October, with majority of them to be installed by year end.
During this week's press conference the contractor has reassured media representatives that work is still well ahead of schedule. According to the contract Łódź should have its third 10,000+ stadium by June, 2022. However, Mirbud wants to end construction in December, 2021. Then up to two months would be needed for all necessary handover proceedings and permits to be issued.
You may recall, the new stadium for ŁKS (2nd league) is being built in phases. First, in 2013-15 the main grandstand was built at a high price of PLN 94 million. Then in mid-2019 erection of three remaining stands began, all of them worth PLN 129 million. The total of PLN 223 million (€50 million) is expected. While still within European average, the stadium is proving nearly twice as expensive as the one built by Łódź for Widzew, despite the same capacity.
© ŁKS Łódź