After critical decision from the ministry of heritage, Fiorentina announced the intention to abandon Stadio Artemio Franchi. But mayor stepped in with €200 million in public funds and both sides are talking again.
As you may remember, in November we wrote about the anticipated verdict from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism (MiBACT). The ministry had to determine what parts of the 90-year-old Stadio Artemio Franchi can be demolished, should a reconstruction go ahead.
The decision came in mid-January and, in simple words, is limited to these guidelines: you may build a new roof over the stadium, you may move the ends much closer to the field, but the historical external structure cannot be demolished.
This attitude is very much in line with expectations of conservationists in Italy and abroad, including the likes of Tadao Ando or Sir Norman Foster. Just a day later Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso issued a blunt statement, calling the reconstruction effort a ‘closed chapter’ and suggesting another attempt at relocation.
Sadly, there seems to be more interest in preserving a dilapidated 90-year-old reinforced-concrete structure than giving fans the opportunity to enjoy sports events at an avant-garde stadium with modern-day facilities and comforts, which is something Florence deserves.
I hope that Italian bureaucracy and all the parties such as Archistar and the various foundations and committees who were so keen to impress on MiBACT the need to save the Franchi will be just as keen to raise the funds needed for the municipality to renovate the stadium. the statement read.
Municipal proposal changed Commisso’s stance
just a couple days later the city came up with a possible lifeline to the Artemio Franchi reconstruction. While the MiBACT ruling is constraining, it’s not exactly prohibitive. That’s why mayor Dario Nardella announced he’s willing to invest €200 million in the project, which was previously expected to be financed by Viola.
The funding would come from a pool of €500 million, intended for the revitalisation of the Campo di Marte district. €250 will go for local tram connection and the stadium would become the second major project on the list.
It might seem controversial that just after Fiorentina backs out, the city throws such a costly lifeline for what is essentially a private business endeavour. However, possible relocation of Viola out of the city is costly as well, not to mention it could lead to further deterioration for the immediate surroundings of Campo di Marte.
Nardella announced he would launch an international design competition in order to deliver a vision that will be respectful to the site’s heritage and viable for modern football. It’s quite a challenge but top architectural practices are expected to attend.
How much will Fiorentina earn?
Nardella’s announcement was enough to get Rocco Commisso back to the negotiation table. The two met just yesterday. But, from the club’s perspective, the most important financial part is not the one-time construction price tag. The bigger issue is: how much revenue could such constrained stadium generate?
Yesterday both officials met and that question was left by Commisso. Nardella announced passing it on to analysts from Deloitte, who are expected to deliver an answer. Answer to the problem of commercial potential within the historical D-shaped stands could be crucial to the project.
Author: Michał Karaś