Italian Serie A football club AS Roma has hailed the “important step” of its proposed new stadium being declared a project of public interest.
The City Council of Rome yesterday (Tuesday) approved a resolution granting public interest status to the feasibility study put forward by Roma, stating the project will represent a “strategic intervention” for the overall regeneration and urban redevelopment of the Pietralata district of the Italian capital.
The feasibility study was presented in October, with reports at the time stating that the project is set to come with a total price tag of €582.1m (£517.5m/$625.8m). The preliminary project presented by Roma covers an area of approximately 20 hectares and envisions the construction of a facility for 55,000 spectators, which can be extended to 62,000. The project includes the construction of parking lots, green areas covering over 15 hectares and cycle/pedestrian paths.
The declaration of public interest is set to result in a public consultation process which will lead to Roma presenting a definitive masterplan for the project. A positive response to the latter will give the green light for construction to begin.
Roma said the “important step”, reached within the timeframe originally set out, has been achieved thanks to the “continuous and constructive dialogue” with Rome authorities and all the entities involved. The Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, set out a likely timeline for the venture at a press conference.
He said: “By 2023, the definitive project and the deliberative services conference will be readied. The opening of the construction site is scheduled for 2024, with the inauguration in 2027 for the club’s celebratory year.” Roma marks its centenary in 2027.
Councillor for Major Events, Sport, Tourism and Fashion, Alessandro Onorato, added: “It’s an important day for football, for the club and for the fans, but also for the development prospects of our city.
“From Roma’s proposal to the Council’s resolution, it took us only four months. With Mayor Gualtieri we have demonstrated to international investors that on concrete projects it is possible to obtain definite answers quickly from the municipal administration.”
Roma detailed plans to build a new stadium in Pietralata back in July, stating at the time that the Roma Capitale administrative body “positively acknowledged” the willingness of the club to present a feasibility study.
Confirmation of Roma’s plans came after it was reported in May that the club had issued the first draft of a project that would see a stadium with a seating capacity between 55,000 and 60,000 developed on a plot of land owned by the Municipality of Rome.
The proposal marked the first significant move on a new stadium by Roma’s American owners, the Friedkin group, since the club in February 2021 dropped plans for a new stadium in the Tor di Valle neighbourhood of the city.
Roma had long held plans for a new stadium in Tor di Valle but a change in ownership at the club in August 2020 cast fresh doubt over the project. Following February 2021’s announcement, the club said it was still committed to exploring options for a new stadium at a number of sites.
The Stadio della Roma project was central to former owner James Pallotta’s long-held vision for the club, which has shared the Stadio Olimpico with cross-city rival SS Lazio, which is also exploring stadium options, since it opened in 1953. The project, which was first put forward in February 2012, centred on a 52,500-seat stadium but was hit by a number of delays.
Speaking yesterday, Roma CEO, Pietro Berardi, said: “As Roma we are very happy, today is an important day. Dan and Ryan Friedkin strongly believe in this project which will improve the city of Rome and project us into the Olympus of European football.”
The Friedkins have recently been linked to exploring the prospect of seeking outside investment for the project, but Berardi has dismissed this. He added: “They will be directly involved in the design and construction of the stadium, and will have a say in the aesthetics of the facility. At the moment, the Friedkin family wants to be the sole owner of the project.”