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Design & Development

AC Milan intensifies focus on San Donato for new stadium

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy

Featured image credit: AdoForm/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

AC Milan has strengthened its focus on the comune of San Donato Milanese as a home for a potential new stadium by acquiring a majority stake in the company which owns the land being targeted, according to multiple reports.

Sport Mediaset, citing chamber of commerce documents, said the Italian Serie A football club acquired a 90% stake in Sportlifecity on June 8. The latest reports come after the Mayor of San Donato Milanese, Francesco Squeri, last month confirmed talks had been held with Milan after the club reportedly signed the first formal preliminary agreement to develop a new stadium in the comune.

Milan was reported to have signed the agreement with Sportlifecity, which currently holds development rights for the targeted parcel of land in the San Francesco area of San Donato.

Sportlifecity, promoted by Cassinari&Partners, had envisioned the development of a €150m (£128.4m/$168.5m) sports complex on the 300,000 square metres of land, but its deal with Milan at the time was said to reportedly see the package of urban planning permits secured for this site transferred to the club.

Acquisition of a controlling stake in Sportlifecity is being interpreted as a means to avoid certain bureaucratic barriers and speed up the potential path to a stadium deal being struck. The legal entity that will hold talks with the Municipality of San Donato will not change, only the content of the proposed project itself.

According to Calcio e Finanza, Milan fleshed out what it envisions from a stadium in San Donato during a board of directors meeting on May 30. Citing documents from the meeting, Milan CEO Giorgio Furlani is said to have outlined: “AC Milan has verified, with the help of its technical consultants, the possibility to submit to the Municipality of San Donato Milanese a variant… which allows the club to build, on the area in question, a stadium with 60,000-70,000 seats; a car park; a shop for the sale of Milan-branded products (the so-called “Milan Store’); a museum on ACM competitions, athletes and staff (the so-called ‘AC Milan Museum’); and the buildings necessary to house the club’s administrative offices and registered office.”

Milan had last month reportedly locked on to San Donato Milanese as the site for its proposed new stadium, with MANICA Architecture said to be in the box seat to secure the contract to design the venue.

San Donato, located around 10km southeast of Milan, is now in pole position owing to the fact it is said to be the location that presents the most functional and potentially fastest solution to the delivery of a stadium.

Specifically, San Francesco is the site that has seemingly been identified by Milan chiefs, with the view that a stadium located there could act as a “gateway to Milan”, with strong exposure to those travelling into and out of the city.

In December 2021, Populous saw off competition from MANICA/Sportium to land the original contract to design the new stadium. Populous’ project, dubbed ‘The Cathedral’, was selected, with the coming weeks having promised the finalisation of the objectives and development process of Milan’s new stadium.

However, the venture has since been mired in bureaucratic red-tape to the extent that both Milan and Inter, which was due to share the proposed new stadium with its arch rival, are now pursuing alternative plans.