Dutch Eredivisie football club Feyenoord has given its qualified backing to the long-running effort to deliver a new 63,000-seat stadium in Rotterdam, but has warned that substantial work remains before the project can be realised.
The statement from the club comes after the municipality of Rotterdam this week demanded an answer from Feyenoord over its stance on the project, which has come into question of late. In response, Feyenoord has now said it is taking the “next step” towards the realisation of the new stadium, adding that the project office behind the wider Feyenoord City masterplan has commenced with the technical design.
Mark Koevermans, commercial director and general manager of Feyenoord, said: “The road is still long and we are certainly not there yet. But good steps have been taken in recent months, which give the club and the stadium the confidence that we – hand in hand with our many supporters, the municipality and other stakeholders – can get the new stadium done.
“This despite the current very difficult corona period. Because even for this already very complex project, COVID-19 has of course not made things any easier.”
The club said it will work even closer with the Stadion Feijenoord entity to further improve the business case, construction costs and financing. Both supervisory boards and management boards have also agreed to jointly lead the project towards a final investment decision, scheduled to happen in the autumn of 2021.
Koevermans said: “The club and Stadion are happy with the design of the new stadium. It looks beautiful. Based on the in-depth analysis that we continuously make and the insights that this yields, we have the feeling that the new stadium is feasible and can make a significant contribution to the desired growth of Feyenoord’s football budget and the development of the club as a whole.
“In addition to creating the technical design, a lot more needs to be done in the next 12 months. This applies to the construction costs, the financing and the business case, in which we naturally also want to incorporate the possible permanent COVID-19 effects, as well as the potential ones.”
Alderman Arjan van Gils has described Feyenoord’s statement as “an important step”. He added to local newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: “As a municipality, we are happy with that.”
The new stadium is just one part of an ambitious urban redevelopment plan for southern Rotterdam, which incorporates the building of at least 3,700 new houses. The Feyenoord City project as a whole has been priced at over €1.5bn (£1.37bn/$1.78bn), with the stadium having a current reported price tag of €365.7m.
The new stadium would be the biggest, and most expensive, in the Netherlands. However, there is debate whether Feyenoord needs a 63,000-seat home, with the club wanting assurances over the financial benefits of it.
In June, architecture firms OMA and LOLA revealed refined plans for the proposed new stadium, with the new designs having been submitted earlier in the month. OMA and LOLA said that the original design of the stadium had been optimised to ensure it is delivered both on time and in a cost-effective manner.
Last December, it emerged that the project had been hit by fresh delays, with officials stating that it was not expected to be completed until the summer of 2025. OMA and LOLA are working on the Feyenoord City masterplan together with Stichting Gebiedsontwikkeling aan de Maas, the Municipality of Rotterdam, Stadion Feijenoord and multiple other stakeholders.
Feyenoord currently plays at De Kuip, which has a capacity of 51,000. Construction work on the new stadium is currently projected to begin in spring 2022.