Spezia has appointed Italian architectural design company GAU Arena to lead a transformation project which aims to ensure the Stadio Alberto Picco meets the football club’s long-term Serie A ambitions.

The appointment represents a turning point for Spezia under its new American ownership. The Platek family, led by financier Robert Platek, in February completed a takeover of Spezia and are now aiming to revamp the Alberto Picco into a state-of-the-art stadium through an investment of around €15m (£12.87m/$18.21m).

Spezia has just completed its first-ever season in Serie A finishing 15th, six points above the relegation zone. However, the club only played its first Serie A match at the Alberto Picco on December 16 after a project to bring the stadium in line with top-flight standards was completed.

Prior to that game, the club was forced to play home matches at Cesena’s Stadio Dino Manuzzi while upgrades were carried out at the Alberto Picco. The stadium has a capacity of around 10,000 but Pierluigi Peracchini, the Mayor of Spezia, in November detailed plans to increase this to 16,000 so it is in line with Serie A standards.

The new appointment, made in agreement with the Municipality of La Spezia, will drop these plans in favour of new ones drawn up by GAU Arena. The company has a strong portfolio of work in Italian football, most notably with Juventus’ Allianz Stadium, while it is also responsible for Bologna’s plan to redevelop the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

Spezia said the project will take three years to complete, with the first phase to begin immediately with the design and renovation of the Curva Piscina stand. The final two phases will commence at the end of the 2021-22 season, with a focus on the stadium’s main stand.

Spezia added in a statement: “The renewed Alberto Picco will fully comply with the infrastructural criteria required for participation in the Serie A championship and will prove to be up to the prestige and ambition of Spezia Calcio. We are determined to guarantee the best possible experience for our fans so we can continue flying together towards a bright and satisfying future.”

Image: Spezia Calcio