Italian Serie A football club Atalanta’s long wait to redevelop its stadium is set to end after the City of Bergamo said an agreement has been reached for a building permit.
Atalanta has called the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia (pictured) home since 1928 and in August 2017 purchased the stadium from the local council for an overall fee of €11.2m (£9.87m/$13m). The administrative process behind the redevelopment plan dates back to 2015, but the project has now been approved, barring certain minor amendments.
Bergamo’s councillor for urban redevelopment and construction, Francesco Valesini, said five observations were put forward concerning the initial plans of which one has been accepted, three have been partially accepted and one rejected. The one to be rejected concerned reducing the height of the redeveloped north and south stands. It was claimed that this would impact on the local areas of Alta and Martesana, but it was argued that reducing the height would have necessitated removing rows of seats, affecting the minimal capacity requirement for the stadium.
“We have come to the end,” Valesini said, according to Italian newspaper Il Giorno. “It was a long path, sometimes not understood and criticised, but satisfactory that, from an administrative point of view, led to a courageous choice that ends with the approval of the implementation plan. By the end of the year the request for the building permit will be presented, and as scheduled, the work will begin by the spring of 2019.”
The development plan foresees a section of the stadium to be completed every year for the next three close seasons. The project is set to boost capacity at the stadium from 21,300 to 24,000.
Atalanta has previously outlined that other key features of the initiative include ‘squaring off’ the two end stands of the stadium to connect them with other sections of the venue, as well as building a commercial area in the underground part of the stadium. In addition, Atalanta has pledged to improve the roads and transports links that surround the stadium in order to help fans travel to and from matches.
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