Paolo Scaroni and Alessandro Antonello have spoken at great length about the New Stadium Project, explaining why renovation of San Siro is impractical and why building a new arena at the area of the Meazza is the best option.
Yesterday at around lunch time, at Politecnico Bovisa in Milano, fans around the world got a glimpse of what the future of Milan and Inter will look like.
Two projects were presented, one of Populous and the other of Manica/Sportium. One of which will be selected and – should the project be approved by the City – be built over the next three years and eventually replace the existing, historic San Siro.
Milan President Paolo Scaroni and Inter CEO Alessandro Antonello took the stage during the event to talk at length about the events leading up to this point, explaining the decision for a new stadium.
“Good morning everyone, I’m very pleased to see so many people in the audience,” Scaroni said. “What awaits us is a very long morning but hopefully it will also be very pleasant. And we’ll be walking you down our project, basically; a project we’ve all been working on with all our consultants for over a year and which has been submitted to the Milano Municipality a few months ago.
“Before leaving the floor to Alessandro Antonello, so he can explain to you where it all started, I just want to mention a couple of things. The first one is that Stadio San Siro, as it is now, is no longer suitable for two large clubs who have the ambition and also the duty to play a world-class role in the European and world football landscape. San Siro, as it is now, is no longer suitable, period. There is not much to add to it and if you take a look at the stadiums of the other clubs we compete with in Europe, it’s really something completely different. Of course, we’re all extremely fond of San Siro, we love it, very much. But it is really a time for a change.
“The second thing I’d like to say is that we have the impression that for the city of Milano, to seize the opportunity of a new stadium at the San Siro location, is also an opportunity to really transform this San Siro area. Nowadays it is a non-place, because besides on the day of the match, when it becomes suddenly lively – but we are talking about 2-3 hours a week – it is a non-place, a non-destination, a sort of desert in the middle of nowhere, and nothing happens there: there is just a large concrete square with our beloved San Siro standing right in the middle.
“So we have to really seize this opportunity to do once again, what Milano has been doing so far and excelling at it. So we have to build something new and build a neighborhood that can be lively and well-lived 365 days a year, not just on Matchdays.”
The Nerazzurri Antonello then began talking: “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank you for your participation, I’d like to thank all the officials and institutions represented and also the dean of Politecnico di Milano, the University of Milano.
“So what about the scenario in which the two clubs basically approached this project: well, first of all the idea was to really delve into the city, to really understand it down well. Milano is an economic capital city, a financial capital city, but over the past few years it has been able to attract numberless tourists, it is a city that thrives with design, fashion, innovation, but at the same time cherishing its heritage and Milanese culture. So we followed along this path and the two clubs started musing on a possible project for the new stadium.
“Obviously, over the last few years Milano has shown really a huge and remarkable dynamism, exactly the same as the other big European capital cities, starting from the Expo and the Santa Giulia project, Porta Nuova, CityLife, a very important and radical game-changer of the structure, the fabric of the city, but always with the wake of the Milanese heritage and the city tradition.
“So, what did we want to do? Of course, we wanted a design that was to become an integral part of what was Milano’s 2030 vision, and this was a very important point for us. The projects that you will see as a preview today, are really following on this path.
“Another important things: two international properties, two football clubs – they want to invest in our city and not just in our city but in our country, with a project that also addresses and takes into account future generations. This is really the key of its all, because this city has innovation that runs in its DNA and we definitely want to highlight that this design should become a fully-fledged part of the Milanese reality, it must be a project for Milano, for the citizens of Milano, for the city dwellers and not just for the fans going to the stadium.
“So, the first question to answer was the following: why can’t we renovate San Siro? Well, I’m sure you’re all very familiar with the history of San Siro. Here we wanted to show you the architectural structure: a first deck on 1926 (Primo Anello), then on top of it a second deck in 1956 (Secondo Anello) and a third deck in 1990 (Terzo Anello E Tetto).
“As you can see in the picture, these facilities were overlapped, one on top of the other, but they do not really inter-connect between each other and as a result of it, over time there has been really uncomfortable issues that that are depicted here, i.e.: today, the San Siro has a space available for the different activities carried out before and after the match and this space is 24,000 square meters; the European benchmark is actually about 100,000 square meters of needed space, so there is definitely shortage of space here. And then the second important bullet point to be highlighted is visibility: the first deck, nowadays, because of its architectonical structure offers and provides just visibility on the pitch and on the ground, so fans do not have any possibility to look around them in the stadium.
“Another important point is the comfort on the stands: I think all of you have been to San Siro at least once and when you actually sit down, you’ll have realized that there is not enough room to move between one seat to the other. And so in accordance to the new regulations, these spaces will have to be expanded because the current are not compliant with current regulations. And then there’s a problem with services, especially affecting the second and third decks: there are roughly 50k visitors, fans, coming to the stadium and they do not have suitable services: bars, restaurants, and toilets – not as suitable as what Milano as a city would deserve.
“Here we want to walk you through the project, the renovation project: it really took a while to come to this conclusion and after thorough research we realized that if we wanted to adopt this view of renovation of the stadium, very important – huge works – are required. First of all, the demolishing of the current facilities depicted in red: you see the San Siro area to be demolished, so the first deck would have to be redone completely and then some work would be required on the third deck, on the towers and also we’d need to lower the roof. In the second stage, we’d have to redo and do a radical refurbishment of the establishment of the existing facilities and start with the construction of the first deck and of the terraces and also the hospitality area in the west wing.
“So, after this renovation project, the conclusion we drew was the following: At the end of the day, today’s San Siro would lose its identity, it would no longer be recognizable, but there would be a problem of capacity because the restructured-renovated San Siro would be less than 60,000 seats whereas this can be offered by a new stadium, so we’d still have to deal with issues like spaces and services because we have the west wing that is difficult to extend because there is a problem that we can’t expand and encroach upon the property opposite to the stadium.
“And then there would be a problem of safety and security because carrying out work during the football season because having two clubs playing at San Siro would lead to security issues that would definitely not be suitable for sport activity. We thought of our fans, obviously, so if we were to actually renovate the San Siro stadium, we’d be forced to ask our fans to migrate, so to speak, to another facility 100-200km away, with a capacity that would be definitely much lower than the San Siro capacity. So it would definitely be very uncomfortable for our fans, also from an economic point of view. For us, as clubs, to leave Milano and move to stadiums with lower capacity would entail an economic impact.
“Here we wanted to share with you what has been done in abroad, in Europe, over the past 15 years: as you can see, Europe-wise, new stadiums were built from scratch, whereas in Italy only 1 stadium was build. In Europe 24 different facilities were built. The figure was published recently on a survey that was carried out, so there is a sport infrastructural gap in Italy. Over the past decade in Italy, €180m were invested as opposed to Europe where €125 billion were invested [in infrastructure]. So this is the state, the current situation, in terms of sporting facilities in Italy.”
Scaroni then returned on the microphone: “The following slides are investment that amount to €1.2 billion and basically sets the following: first of all, a modern – very modern – stadium, really cutting-edge stadium, both from the functional point of view and also in terms of view of technology and also esthetics. And then, beside it, a new multi-purpose district where the city will have a chance to experience the San Siro location all-year round, with very wide green areas.
“This project developed over time and we can sum-up the advantages as followed: our project will be much greener, there will be much larger green areas in the new San Siro than in the existing one, more sustainable and then finally, what I see as key to me, there will be a lower visual and acoustical impact: San Siro is 68 meters high whereas both our projects are just slightly higher than 30 meters, so we’re talking about a much lower construction and with much less impact from the visual point of view.
“And then, what I really like about it is the acoustics: the new stadium is acoustic – hearing impact will be 60% lower, because it will be a closed stadium whereas San Siro is an open structure-stadium. So, environmentally speaking, it will be much friendlier to the local dwellers, environmentally friendly with lower CO2 emissions, and so it will definitely be an eco-system and sustainable project.”
Antonello concluded: “So far, what we have done is we have filed the Master Plan with the Milano Municipality, together with the Feasibility Study in July. But in the meantime, we’d moved ahead with both clubs. Pending the assessment of the Milano Municipality on the project that was filed, the clubs decided to go beyond what is required by the stadium law, we’ve decided to select a shortlist of group of architectural firms so that they could have a chance to express their skills and forge the idea and concept that the clubs wanted to convey with the construction of the stadium and the district.
“Of course, world-renowned architects that boast in their portfolio very important sports facilities worldwide, were briefed as followed, in a very clear-cut way: we wanted our architects to move very much in line with Milano heritage, tradition and uniqueness, i.e. a stadium and district that must attract both fans and citizens and tourists alike, because only if you do come to Milano, do you have a chance to view the stadium. We started this process with four world-class architectural firms, the process is still ongoing but we want to firmly state that we’ll be sharing everything with the citizens and the administration.
“We’ll unveil two projects and together we want to embark upon a journey leading to collection of all the opinions of citizens, fans and then taking them into account for the final project. So, the two competing architectural firms are Populous and Manica. We think that these two firms that technically translate into practice the ideas that were conveyed by the clubs and build a modern, cutting-edge district experience for 365 days a year, and can also become a sort of propeller, an engine for Milano economy, but not just.”