Austria: A billionaire wants to build a stadium for Austria Salzburg, the city snubs its nose at it
source: StadiumDB.com [RZ]; author: Rafał Zagrobelny
Salzburg is a medium-sized Austrian city with a fairly rich history in the field of stadiums. Bavarian billionaire Max Aicher wants to add another chapter to it.
It is here that Mozart was born, here is the oldest coffee house in Western Europe as well as one of the largest castles in the Old Continent. Salzburg is one of the most attractive cities in Austria, whose colorful history stimulates the imagination of many tourists. The history of local stadiums is also interesting.
For more than 30 years, Austria Salzburg's home ground was a stadium located in the residential area of Lehen. Two sheltered stands along the pitch and two open behind the goals accommodated 18,000 spectators, turning to 15,000 after refurbishment in the 1990s (although capacity was reduced by nearly 10,000 during European cup matches).
When Austria achieved its best ever results at the end of the last century, plans were made to modernise the facility. Eventually, these proposals failed and it was decided to build a new arena in the remote district of Wals-Siezenheim.
Initially, a stadium for 18,686 spectators was built (16,186 seats for international matches). However, an additional tier was added before Euro 2008, increasing the total capacity to 30,188. On our website you can find pictures of the stadium both before and after the expansion.
Since 2005, Austria Salzburg has been sponsored by Red Bull. The company decided to break with history. As a result, the Red Bull name was included in both the stadium and club name. The team colours were also changed.
The die-hard fans could not accept this and led to the formation of SV Austria Salzburg in its traditional purple colours. The home for the new team became the tiny Austria Stadion. The club put an extra stand there in 2015, but the capacity remained small (1,566 seats) and the whole infrastructure is outdated and not up to today's standards.
The club plays in the regional league today, but has ambitious plans, so a move to modern stadium seems inevitable. Especially since Austria has a rich patron. Max Aicher is an 87-year-old entrepreneur who has set himself the goal of building a new arena for the club he supports.
His idea is to create a stadium with stands that can accommodate 5,000 fans, combined with residential buildings including 428 flats. American footballers from Salzburg Ducks would also use the arena.
Interestingly, the facility would be built near the Red Bull stadium, so close to the highway and the airport. Aicher also announces that he will finance the construction and later hand over the facility to the city, including half of the planned flats that would increase Salzburg's social housing base.
The construction cost is estimated at around €193 million. Of this, around 30 million is for the stadium, 28 million for the underground car parks and about 135 million for the housing.
An additional advantage of the project is that during the construction the area of the former waste dump would be recultivated. The problem is that so far the plan has not found acceptance in the eyes of Salzburg's mayor Harald Preuner.
The club is promoting its idea, but is already looking for a fallback option. At the moment, the venue in Grödig seems a viable alternative. The stadium meets the requirements of the Austrian Bundesliga and is able to accommodate 5,000 fans.
Distance is not a problem either, as Grödig is located about 10 km from where Austria currently plays its matches. But the priority for Maks Aicher and the fans of the "Violets" remains their own venue. Therefore, a special petition is being collected to convince the mayor about the vision of the billionaire.
Author: Rarał Zagrobelny