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Design & Development

San Donato grants backing to AC Milan stadium project

Featured image credit: AC Milan

The Municipality of San Donato Milanese has fired the starting gun on a “long and complex path” towards delivering a new 70,000-seat stadium for AC Milan, with the project clearing its first major bureaucratic hurdle.

The Municipal Council has approved an initial proposal presented by the Serie A football club in September, when it officially announced for the first time that it was pursuing a new stadium project away from its current Stadio Giuseppe Meazza home.

At the time, Milan said that it had “completed the first formal step”, in view of the potential future submission of a full project plan, by presenting to the Municipal Council an urban development proposal for the San Francesco area.

Along with the 70,000-seat stadium, the plans being driven by SportLifeCity, the company that owns the site on which the development will be located, also envisions a hotel, catering facilities, offices, a club store and museum, a large plaza, auditorium and parking for 3,500 vehicles.

Following a meeting yesterday (Thursday), the Municipal Council has expressed its intention to request a program agreement of regional involvement involving all parties in the project. Specific responses must be guaranteed on key areas of public interest including issues related to infrastructure, roads, public transport and environmental issues. The development of suitable transport infrastructure to service a major stadium is currently seen as the main challenge for the scheme.

Mayor of San Donato Milanese, Francesco Squeri, said: “For our city, a long and complex path opens up which will involve multiple institutional subjects. The citizens and the various social components of the city and the surrounding area will also be involved in this process. 

“In fact, a path of involvement, information and participation will be promoted to collect contributions for improvement with respect to the project which, in the vision of the administration, can represent a great opportunity for attractiveness and growth not only for San Donato but for the entire south of Milan. 

“We are aware, however, that for this to happen various aspects will have to be explored in depth to identify solutions in terms of services, infrastructure and new opportunities such as to make the new settlement a reason for benefiting our territory. The task of us administrators will be to guide this path, well aware of being guarantors of the interests of the entire community that will be involved.”

Milan is understood to be targeting the start of the 2028-29 season to potentially move into the new stadium, with construction work to commence at the beginning of 2026. “This is a viable project, yes, but with alerts linked above all to mobility, which Milan and SportLifeCity are committed to resolving,” said Squeri at a press conference.

“And I believe they will be solved. We will move towards a program agreement. We are talking with SportLifeCity at the moment, not with the Rossoneri (AC Milan) owners. During the process the project will undergo changes, so the current project is to be considered only a draft.”

SportLifeCity, which Milan owns, in November estimated that the cost of the new stadium would be around €451m (£385.4m/$488.8m), with the overall project more than double this at €949m.

The club has engaged CAA ICON to carry out the implementation of the project, while MANICA is the design architect tasked with developing plans for a new stadium and the entire entertainment district.

In October, Milan reported its first profit in nearly two decades and record revenues of €404.5m, as the club disclosed that its owners had already invested €40m in advancing plans to deliver a new stadium.

San Donato, located around 10km southeast of Milan, has been chosen as the site owing to the fact it was said to be the location that presents the most functional, and potentially fastest, solution to the delivery of a stadium. Specifically, a stadium in San Francesco has been identified as having the potential to act as a “gateway to Milan”, with strong exposure to those travelling into and out of the city.

Following the green light from the Municipal Council, the project’s backers will now seek to gain approval from the city council by the end of February. The latest developments come after it emerged last week that the Municipality of Milan is set to present a €300m proposal to redevelop the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, in what is being viewed as a last-gasp effort to persuade AC Milan and Inter Milan that their futures lie at their current home.

Inter last month launched a fan consultation initiative related to its proposed move to a new 70,000-seat stadium in the municipality of Rozzano. In October, Inter offered a glimpse of life after the San Siro by revealing initial concept images from Populous of a new stadium that it hopes will open ahead of the 2028-29 season.