Feyenoord to ‘recalibrate’ stadium plans after costs increase

Dutch Eredivisie football club Feyenoord has said it is “licking its wounds” and reassessing its options after confirming that plans for a new stadium in their current guise will end due to rising costs.

The project to build a new 63,000-seat stadium was first reported to be in trouble in recent days, amid rising costs. Local broadcaster RTV Rijnmond reported that Feyenoord felt it would not be responsible to continue with the project after construction group BAM revealed that the conditions required for building the stadium had “changed considerably”.

Feyenoord confirmed the news in a statement on Wednesday, before further addressing the matter in a press conference held yesterday (Thursday). The Rotterdam club said that “recent developments” in the construction sector are forcing Feyenoord to reconsider the many years of efforts to realise the intended new stadium. 

Feyenoord said it discussed this with the municipality and the Stadion Feijenoord entity last Monday. It added that the current stadium project with the intended construction combination will therefore come to a halt.

Feyenoord said it will use the situation that has now arisen to subject all aspects of the stadium project to a “thorough analysis”. In addition to developments in the construction and raw materials markets, the legal structure and financing structure, design, as well as possible alternatives for the new stadium will also be re-examined.

Feyenoord said it believes it will need until the summer of 2022 to conduct this work and hopes to work closely in this process in the coming months with the Municipality and the Foundation for Area Development on the Maas, Stadion Feijenoord and other stakeholders, including supporters.

Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Feyenoord’s vice-chairman of the supervisory board, Gérard Moussault, said BAM had presented the club with a construction cost that had increased from €320m (£273.5m/$366m) to €500m.

He continued: “We are confronted with an increase in the construction cost of €180m. Which comes down to: We don’t feel like it.

“On their (BAM’s) website they indicate that they no longer do risky projects worth more than €150m. Out of the blue: this was not the case in the summer. Until a month ago we were on a train on which we thought: it’s coming.

“What we are doing now is no more than licking the wounds. We are going to analyse the stadium project again, recalibrate everything as we call it. And we will include all alternatives.”

The latest news means Feyenoord’s future, in the short term at least, is set to remain at De Kuip, its home since 1937. Supervisory board chairman, Toon van Bodegom, said: “In any case, the new home will be delayed. We will look at how we can realise a stadium that meets the requirements and wishes of the supporters, security, UEFA.

“We will play in De Kuip for longer anyway. And the state in which De Kuip is now is not one with which we are satisfied. We will also have to work on that in the coming period: bringing the conditions up to standard.”

Moussault added: “Our aim and desire for a stadium along the Meuse is fully there. Again: we do not rule out anything, not even the full continuation of the plan. Who knows.”

In April, the intended new stadium for Feyenoord moved one step closer after the club approved the business plan for the project. The Rotterdam giant signed off on the dossier after stating that it proved the new stadium will generate nearly €8m extra per year in revenue than De Kuip.

However, 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. Feyenoord’s exit from the stadium project has drawn an angry response from local politicians.

Robert Simons of Leefbaar Rotterdam said, according to broadcaster NOS: “Every time we heard: it will be fine, we still have to bring in a few million more and then we are there. We have been cheated time and again.”

Dennis Tak, of PvdA, added: “If BAM finds it too exciting, who dares to take this risk? How realistic is it in the short term to find a builder who is willing to pay a fixed price?”

In response to Feyenoord’s announcement, the Foundation for Area Development on the Maas said: “We have taken note of the reports from Feyenoord regarding the construction costs of the new stadium. 

“In the near future we will discuss the consequences for the area development with the Municipality of Rotterdam, Stadion Feijenoord and Feyenoord. The new stadium in the area development on the Maas remains the starting point for the Foundation for Area Development on the Meuse (StiGaM). 

“We are continuing to work with our partners on the first housing plans and other projects that can in any case be successfully completed in phase one. The official start of construction of the first Imagine sub-project will take place in November. 

“With this we continue to work on an area development, in which there is room for the new stadium in accordance with the zoning plan.”

Image: OMA