Stade Nemausus is the working name of the new stadium for the Ligue 1 Nimes Olympique. The new facility will replace Stade des Costieres, which will be demolished. The planned relocation of "Les Crocodiles" to the new venue is scheduled for 2025.
Stadium inspired by ancient architecture
In Nimes they plan to build a stadium for 15,100 spectators. The entire investment (stadium + residential district) will amount to € 250 million and will be entirely financed from private funds. The construction design is handled by the Paris studio Valode & Pistre Architectes, which can boast of creating a concept for Stade Pierre Mauroy.
Stade Nemausus is designed to be compact and the stands will be very close to the pitch. The external appearance of the stadium is inspired by the arcades characteristic of buildings known from antiquity, with the Nimes amphitheatre being the direct inspiration. The very name "Nemausus" is a name for the city of Nimes that dates back to antiquity. There are to be 5,000 square metres of terraces on the rooftop to accommodate entertainment and dining options.
The application for a building permit is to be submitted in the first quarter of 2021, and the construction completion is scheduled for mid-2025. Demolition of the old stadium will start in 2022, while the beginning of the main works is scheduled for 2023. At least these are the plans, because the coronavirus pandemic and changes in TV rights deal have significantly worsened the club's financial situation.
During the construction phase, Nimes Olympique will be playing its home games at the provisional stadium. There will be a modular structure with a capacity of 10,000 seats, right next to the existing facility in the Mas de Vignolles district. The venue is to be ready by September 2022. Nimes would play there for two seasons.
Own stadium as the essence of business model
Behind the investment is Rani Assaf, who is the president and majority shareholder of the club from south-eastern France. In addition, Assaf is deputy managing director of "Free", a large telecommunications company. In June 2019, a Frenchman of Lebanese descent bought Stade des Costieres from the city of Nimes for € 8 million, which has been serving the club since 1989.
The construction is to be financed by Assaf through the Nemau holding, as well as a bank loan. Moreover, a large part of the investment financing will come from the sale of building plots around the stadium. It can be said that a completely new district will be built around Stade Nemausus.
The plots will be sold to developers, which will result in the creation of 800 flats (dormitories, retirement homes), 20,000 square metres of office space, commercial premises, medical facilities and others. In addition, it is planned to build a four-star hotel to be integrated into the stadium, with rooms overlooking the pitch. This investment will provide the club with additional income in the future.
Nimes Olympique, as the owner of the stadium, plans that the new venue will generate € 10 million in annual income. Ownership of stadiums is a trend started by Olympique Lyonnais, which is rapidly gaining followers in France. This business model, apart from Nimes, was also chosen by SC Montpellier Hérault.
Author: Tomasz Sobura