Italy: Green light for San Siro renovation!

source: Arco Associati; author: Paulina Skóra

 Italy: Green light for San Siro renovation! The project for the renovation of San Siro has been presented at Milan's city hall. For the first time, the administration has approved the renovation of the legendary stadium, but the clubs' consent is still pending. However, Inter and Milan are already considering the construction of new, separate facilities.


Fourth ring as heart of project

The modernization of San Siro aims to encompass both the construction of new buildings and infrastructure and the renovation of the existing stadium. The crucial element is the construction of the fourth ring, to be located above the current first one , just below the cantilevered stands that partially conceal it. Its surface area will be nearly twice as large as the current one, providing new arrangement possibilities.

Access to the fourth ring will be facilitated from the outside through new staircases and elevators. The optimal height at which it will be built ensures the best possible visibility of the field. The necessary space will be obtained by demolishing the highest level of stands, eliminating about 5,000 seats, and replacing the aforementioned first ring with three new floors. This will create a larger functional space, including skyboxes, sky lounges, open spaces, press areas, reception halls, and conference rooms. Additionally, there will be restaurants, shops, apartments, wellness spaces, offices, and work areas.

Design of San Siro© Arco Associati

Without disrupting life of stadium

These are just some elements of the renovation project for Meazza, developed by the Arco Associati studio, which was recently presented to a four-member committee on the revitalization of the city, mobility, sports, and the Olympic Games in the presence of the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala. Architect Julius Fenyves emphasized during the presentation that the "structural independence of the three macro-sectors is the main interpretative key to the project and the organization of the work, which has already been designed to be planned and carried out without disrupting the life of the stadium." The architect also assured commitment to the acoustic aspect, suggesting that the existing roof can be integrated with sound-absorbing panels, allowing a reduction in decibel levels well below the limits allowed by regulations, both during matches and concerts.

For committee members, it is crucial to be able to carry out these works without closing the stadium. This would require finding alternative venues, possibly two, for Milan and Inter. The individual stages of the reconstruction will be independent, allowing them to be conducted at different times, either simultaneously or sequentially, if necessary. The works are planned to minimize restrictions on areas used during matches, both around and inside San Siro.

Another aspect covered by the project is the replacement of seats. They will be larger and more comfortable. The target capacity is approximately 70,000 seats, although it is said to be the quantity of "external" seats, with an additional 5,000 expected in various types of boxes.

Design of San Siro© Arco Associati

All to keep Milan and Inter

The project for the new San Siro was presented at the request of Alessandro De Chirico, the leader of the Forza Italia group, who had previously advocated for demolishing the current stadium and building a new one. However, "the priority now is to try to keep the stadium in Milan." This is not the first time there have been discussions about renovating Meazza, but there is a new element: now, city authorities see it as a realistic option. It is still unknown whether Milan and Inter will be fascinated by it or react, as they always have, with a firm "no" to previous renovation proposals without demolishing San Siro. As reported by Il Corriere della Sera, both clubs were not present at the recent meeting where the project was discussed, but they are expected to meet with Giuseppe Sala in the coming days.

Considering the limitations imposed by the Supervisory Board, and thus the impossibility of demolishing Meazza, the city mayor made it clear: "As the mayor of the metropolis, I would do nothing to oppose the construction of new stadiums outside the city; this does not mean that I cannot do everything to keep both teams in Milan." After the move of Milan and Inter, San Siro could become an unused, expensive-to-maintain relic.

Design of San Siro© Arco Associati

Take your pick

Giuseppe Sala outlined three possible ways to carry out the renovation. The first method is to directly carry out the works, but the municipality has many restrictions on current expenses. The second is to participate jointly with the clubs. The third, preferred by the mayor, is to grant Milan and Inter the rights to the facility for less than €100 million, which is the current value of San Siro, and then commission them to carry out the works, allowing the clubs to "capitalize" the stadium. This last solution, of course, means that most of the renovation costs would be borne by Nerazzurri and Rossoneri. Ultimately, both teams could reap all the revenue generated by the renovated San Siro.

Several council members who have always been against demolishing Meazza spoke during the debate. Carlo Monguzzi, a former leader of the Europa Verde group, emphasized that similar conclusions could have been reached many years ago when the Aceti and Magistretti project was presented. "Let's avoid cementing the green areas of San Donato and Rozzano," he said. The position of the councilor was supported, among others, by Marco Bestetti, a former chairman of the municipality managing the stadium. He advocated for renovation since Inter discussed it in 2016.

Design of San Siro© Arco Associati

"I don't know if Milan and Inter will be convinced," Sala concluded at the end of the debate, emphasizing, however, that the clubs are experiencing difficulties in moving elsewhere: "Money is expensive today, so they may consider our proposal." Now the mayor will contact Inter to inquire whether the 2019 project should be considered archived, considering that AC Milan has already applied to the municipality of San Donato Milanese for the construction of a new stadium.

According to the Arco Associati project, the renovation of San Siro would take about two years, with an estimated cost of €300 million.