Design & Development

Public interest approved as Rome seeks to seize ‘extraordinary opportunity’ of new stadium

Featured image credit: City Council of Rome

Italian Serie A football club AS Roma has taken a major step forward in its efforts to develop a new stadium in the Pietralata district of Rome, with the City Council approving a resolution establishing the public interest status of the project.

The Council, or Capitoline Assembly, took the decision yesterday (Tuesday) with 32 votes in favour and three abstentions. Roma in February hailed the “important step” of its proposed new stadium initially being declared a project of public interest.

The City Council of Rome had approved a resolution granting public interest status to the feasibility study put forward by Roma, stating the project would represent a “strategic intervention” for the overall regeneration and urban redevelopment of Pietralata.

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 (£505.2m/$637.4m). 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.

Roma detailed plans to build a new stadium in Pietralata back in July, stating at the time that the Capitale administrative body “positively acknowledged” the willingness of the club to present a feasibility study.

After securing public interest status, public debate on the project is now set to commence. Roma will need to present its definitive stadium project, taking into account feedback it has received from the submission of the preliminary study.

The Council yesterday stated that a number of aspects were considered when granting public interest status. In terms of mobility, 50% of journeys to the stadium will have to take place using public transport, including by upgrading the Quintiliani metro station and creating cycle/pedestrian paths around the venue. 

The number of parking spaces will have to comply with Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) regulations, while the acoustic impact of the stadium on the nearby Sandro Pertini hospital and on surrounding housing will have to be assessed and contained. 

From the point of view of sustainability, the roof of the new stadium, as a public building, will house photovoltaic panels capable of producing 65% of the energy needed. This energy is also intended to power the homes of the lowest-income families in the area, effectively creating what the Council states will be a “renewable and supportive energy community”.

Following submission of the final project, the Lazio Region will start an environmental impact assessment procedure and amendments to the stadium plan will be assessed before being put to a final Council vote. Roma is hoping that work can begin on the stadium next year so that it is ready in 2027, when the club celebrates its centenary.

Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, described yesterday’s vote as a “serious commitment which, step by step, will help us seize what we all consider an extraordinary opportunity”. He added in a statement: “With the favourable vote also of the opposition (parties), it was established that this is an important work capable of creating opportunities for economic growth and urban redevelopment for an entire city district that has been waiting for a real opportunity for a relaunch for years. 

“After years of debates, now we finally move on to the facts: the Stadio della Roma in Pietralata will represent an important legacy for the whole city, not just for AS Roma and its fans. It will be a real green facility… modern and sustainable, equipped with a large green park; a living point of reference that will host many sporting events and initiatives.”

The current project comes after Roma’s American owners, the Friedkin group, 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.