A&S Architects from Athens presented the design of the new PAOK stadium.The new facility will be built on the site of the Stádio Toumba, which will be demolished and replaced by a new venue with 33,500 seats.
Possible scenarios for the start of works on the stadium
It is not yet known when the construction of the new facility will start, as there are several formal issues to be overcome. The most important of these is the presidential decree expected in April or May 2021, which would enable the demolition of the current stadium and the commencement of works on the new facility in the summer of 2021. The planned relocation of PAOK to the new venue would take place in the 2023/24 season. However, this is a very optimistic scenario, because it is possible that the presidential decree will be issued later, and this will slow down the start of works by several months.
According to the schedule, a Special Spatial Development Plan and the aforementioned president's decree should be ready by the summer of 2021. Then the process of architectural studies will begin and last about 6 months. Consequently, construction could start in 2022, with an implementation time of two to three years. This is the most realistic scenario for the new PAOK stadium at the moment.
It is also not known how the talks with the owners of the Kaftanzogleio stadium, where PAOK would play for at least two full seasons, will proceed. It is a matter of reaching agreement between PAOK and local rivals Iraklis regarding the joint use of the Kaftanzogleio stadium. Though the stadium is public, current tenants and their derby rivals have to work out the groundshare.
The construction project of the new venue must be positively verified by the Metropolitan Planning Council, and then by the Central Council. It is possible that archaeologists may delay construction of the new facility in the event of finds of historical value. In the pessimistic scenario, the construction of the stadium would be finished in 5-6 years from today.
At the end of the summer, public consultations regarding the construction of the new PAOK stadium ended, which mainly concerned its impact on the environment and the increase in road traffic. The Thessaloniki Metropolitan Committee approved the study, and the Ministry of the Environment initially approved the assumptions of the document. This opens the way to the desk of the president of the country and the issuance of a decree that would be a kind of green light for the imminent start of construction works.
The cost of the stadium and its appearance
The new facility is to be part of a larger revitalization plan for the Toumba district. It was also assumed that, following the example of Western European countries, the stadium and its surroundings should attract fans, not only during the football matches, but also provide an opportunity to visit the district for several hours before the kick-off. These assumptions are to bring financial benefits to the stadium and the area around it.
This is to be ensured by the appropriate use of the space of the facility, where food outlets, restaurants, conference rooms, recreational facilities, shopping centre, etc. will be built. The total cost of building the venue is estimated at approximately € 140 million. The stadium is to be financed with public money from the EU regional funds, as well as partly with bank loans and money of the Savvidis family - the owners of the club. Ivan Savvidis himself has promised to cover most of the price tag, which would be a rare case in Greek football.
Initially, the construction of a stadium with a capacity of 41,926 seats was considered, which was a symbolic figure and referred to the "Gate No. 4", the famous ultras group of PAOK. 1926 is a reference to the year the club was founded. Later, the club's management reduced their plans to 33,500 seats, which reflects the real needs of the club.
The colours of the stadium will be dominated by PAOK colours, i.e. white and black. From a distance, the venue's roof is to resemble eagle's wings. It is possible thanks to the three-dimensional effect. Then the roof flows smoothly into the facade, which is surrounded by vertical circulation routes. The stadium is to have four access points and a different height of the stands. There will also be 1,000 parking spaces. The venue is to have 3 levels of aboveground floor space and one under the ground, largely intended for parking lots and technical rooms.
The architects have used the latest parametric technology to create an exterior facade that has two layers. The structure has been designed to enable the use of photovoltaic panels, thanks to which the stadium complex will be able to use solar energy to a large extent.
In addition, the arena will include cafes, restaurants, a museum, and maybe even cinemas and a shopping mall. The stadium will be located near the Papafi underground station, which is scheduled to open in 2023.
Author: Tomasz Sobura