Lugano’s citizens back plans for new football stadium, arena

The citizens of the Municipality of Lugano have voted in favour of the Polo Sportivo e degli eventi (PSE) venture that is set to deliver a new stadium for Swiss Super League football club FC Lugano, along with a new arena.

A fiercely contested referendum process on the matter came to a head with the municipal vote on the proposed public-private partnership between the City of Lugano and Swiss real estate group HRS.

The PSE project will encompass a 10,000-seat stadium for FC Lugano, a 4,000-capacity multi-purpose arena, plus four residential buildings and two towers for the city administration and municipal companies in the Cornaredo district.

The venture has been projected to cost CHF374m (£305.2m/€358.6m/$407.7m) and resulted in a 62.52% voter turnout. Some 11,954 citizens voted in favour of the scheme, with 9,089 against the project, with the outcome final, after the deadline for appeal on December 14.

The PSE will be built in stages, with priority placed on the sporting aspects. The stadium will be delivered between 2023 to 2025, with the arena to follow between 2024 and 2026. Preparatory work will start in 2022.

The City said: “The vote today allows us to take a significant and essential step towards the redevelopment of the Cornaredo district, the northern gateway to Lugano, and its better integration in the urban context.

“For sport in Lugano, today’s vote marks a long-awaited qualitative change. The new stadium adapted to the regulations of the Swiss Football League will allow the FCL to continue to play Super League matches at Cornaredo.

“While the building of the sports (arena) will be able to guarantee sports clubs structures that comply with the regulations of the leagues and spaces suitable for individual and associative activities. It will also house a centre of regional and national competence for some sporting disciplines.”

FC Lugano currently plays at the Stadio di Cornaredo, its home since 1951. Commenting on the result of the vote, the club said: “The first thought is undoubtedly that of strong gratitude towards the citizens of Lugano who, despite a very polarised political campaign, have understood the epochal importance of this vote. 

“The happiness of these hours is shared with all the sports clubs and the approximately 2,000 sportsmen who will benefit from this new important infrastructure. This campaign also had the benefit of having created and strengthened a bond of friendship and collaboration between the main Lugano sports clubs. 

“Thanks go to the political authorities of the City of Lugano for the great commitment they have made in recent years and in particular in recent months, as well as to HRS for having believed in the project, to all the professionals and to those who organised and supported the campaign in favour of the PSE. 

“We mention in particular the association ‘I support the Polo’. Last but not least, we allow ourselves an affectionate reference to the late former Mayor Marco Borradori, who always defended and carried out this project with great passion.”

Image: Città di Lugano