Public consultation has began on the construction of new stadium for Nîmes Olympique. The arena for over 15,000 people is expected to put the club in Ligue 1 for good. But until 2026, they’ll have to play at an interim stadium.
Yesterday saw official launch of public consultation regarding the construction of a new stadium (interim name Stade Nemausus) and mixed-used development in the French city of Nîmes. The plan is very complex, because it also comprises a second stadium (temporary, for the duration of construction) and an indoor sports hall just beside it. Now, the residents have a month, until October 20, to speak up if they have reservations with the scheme.
What will the new Nîmes stadium be like?
The goal is to replace the dated Stade des Costières. While architecturally interesting, the stadium offers very little revenue options despite covering a vast area. That’s why its surface will in the future be split evenly between a more compact stadium and a mixed-use quarter. The latter portion will include offices, commerce and housing for as many as 1,000 people. The stadium, in turn, will offer 15,100 seats.
Although rectangular for practical reasons, the new football-specific venue will be inspired by local amphitheatre, one of the most beautiful built in ancient Rome. Aside from its football use, the stadium will include two hotels (2-star rooms in the south stand and 4-star rooms in the east one), as well as offices (north stand).
Beneath the auditorium and ancillary uses, as many as 440 underground parking places are planned. Further 700 cars will be able to hide under the mixed-use part. The 1,140 places should enable almost car-free experience within the complex, limiting traffic congestion around as well.
First, the temporary stadium
Because the old stadium has to be demolished for the project to take place, an interim solution has to be found for the construction period. In Nîmes it was decided that a temporary, modular stadium will be built within walking distance, just across the A9 highway, beside the Cap Costières shopping centre.
The stadium will hold 9,400 people and should be ready to allow moving in for the next campaign, in mid-2022. It will have 300 dedicated parking places, while a further 100-car parking site will be built for the future indoor arena next to it.
Because the old Stade des Costières also holds indoor facilities and an indoor venue is missing in the city, public authorities want to offset the removal of Costières with a new covered sports hub.
Who will pay for the complex?
Two stadiums, indoor hall, hotels and a quarter for 1,000 inhabitants… all that must sound impressive, especially since it was initiated by a second-league club. Local media even call the project “Pharaonic”, because its early price tag is put at €250 million (currently $293m).
According to numerous public assurances from Nîmes Olympique chief executive Rani Assaf, nearly all of it will be covered by the private sector. Clearly, numerous investors have to get involved for the entirety to become viable, but none of the commercial portions will require taxpayer funding. The only part to be covered by the city hall is expected to be the new indoor arena, which wasn’t part of Nîmes Olympique’s initial scheme.
It’s thus no wonder that all of the elements are scheduled to take place in 5 years. First work south of the A9 highway should begin this year, for the interim stadium to be built in time. Demolition of the old ground will follow in 2022, however construction of the final stadium will only begin in 2024, expected to end in 2026.
Author: Michał Karaś