Posted by wilfrid duval on 02/11/2013
As everybody knows, international sport events are great opportunities to achieve large and expensive planning project often vital for cities and countries development.
Russia is no exception to the rule after having been designated as the country host for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sotchi and the 2018 World cup.
Russian government and local institutions have already invested million of dollars and keep on investing in infrastructures, determined to show the world, during the competitions, an image of modernity and economic health
One project is catching the attention : the new Saint-Petersburg stadium.
Initiated in the early 2000s, the project was finally born in 2006 after a financial collaboration between the local government and the international gas company : Gazprom.
The giant Gazprom company, owner of the Zenith Saint-Petersburg football club, team that will host the stadium once the construction works done, aims at making the Zenith one of the best teams in the prestigious european football competition : the champions league.
Given that the previous stadium Kirov wasnot fitting anymore to football standards, it was decided to replace it by a construction more modern : the Gazprom arena (the final name hasn’t been chosen yet).
Located at 4 miles (7 km) away from the city-center, instead of the Kirov stadium, the Gazprom arena will be a hight-tech structure. Shaped like a space ship, the stadium will be equiped with a retractable roof and 65 000 seats.
Having a flexible configuration enabling to gain 14 000 extra seats, concerts and other cultural events could take place.
More than just the sport construction itself, it has been planned, along the banks of the Neva, a leisure and entertainment complex reserved to become a enjoyable public space.
However, in 2009, Gazprom decided to stop financing the stadium project seeing the construction delays and bill increase.
First estimated at 210 million dollars, now the construction costs rise up to $ 1,4 billion, making Gazprom arena the stadium per seat world’s most expensive in front of Wembley and its $ 1,5 billion.
Forced to achieve the project, local authorities are the only ones to pay the bill. Consequently, local taxes don’t help going up to ensure the new stadium financing instead of investing in other city-planning needs.
Inhabitants protested against this financial fiasco but they never were listened.
Thought very expensive, this stadium is an important challenge for the Saint-Petersburg metropolis. This project is creating jobs. Revitalizing an old urban area, it will embellish the banks of theNeva and make them enjoyable for the population. In the end, it will promote a modern image of the city, image missing to Russia the last few decades.
The stadium should be delivered in 2015. Initially, it was planned for 2011.