No Stadiums in Sight in Łódź
Despite the promises put forward by the City Council and the Mayor, it seems that most football fans in Lodz will end up with no new stadiums in the next years.
The project that looked the closest to being started was the new stadium for ŁKS. However, the whole construction is having countless of problems at an early stage already. The tender for the construction of this stadium ended in December 2011 and both sides signed a contract in early 2012. According to the contract, works were supposed to begin in July.
The consortium of Mostostal Zabrze and Budus has not begun the construction and in the meantime Budus filed for insolvency as well. The company went thus bankrupt and left Mostostal Zabrze alone in the project. The company however had barely started demolition of old northern stand and stopped the process a few days later.
Instead of focusing on the real construction, Mostostal was focused on court battle with Lodz municipality. The company filed to change the financing scheme. The original contract provided full payment from the city at the end of the work, while the company wanted to receive monthly payments. Several attempts failed as court didn’t change conditions once signed by both sides.
At this point the city is preparing to sign a settlement with Mostostal Zabrze and launch a new tender for the works that were supposed to be at their peak by now.
In 2012 the city of Lodz launched a tender to find private partnership for new 33,000-seater for Widzew. This would be the first venue in the country built under the framework of a Private-Public Partnership (PPP).
Three companies turned up and started negotiations with the city. The plan involved the City of Lodz revamping surrounding infrastructure, donating the land and funding the main stand of the new stadium. The private partner would build the three remaining stands and a commercial part to be used as he wishes. The private partner would instead cash in on the revenues from the events and the commercial area. This way they would reclaim the invested 200 million PLN (around €50 million) and start earning money on it.
However, the plan collapsed when all three companies backed out. They claims that they would never recover their share of the investment without financial help from the city. They argue that, even well managed, the venue itself would never repay the 200 million initial contribution. Their argument is well backed-up by the recent examples. All stadia that were built for EURO 2012 in Poland are struggling to get out of the red.
Negotiations ended in court as one of the investors claiming the city gave misleading information. The court did not pursue the claim, a new PPP has began in early December 2012. The deadline expired last month and no companies decided to restart negotiations with authorities of Lodz.
The plans for the stadium of Widzew seemed to have sunk without trace…
Credits for the pic to Seattle Municipal Archives