A slim majority of voters in the Swiss city of Zurich have approved the construction of a new football stadium, more than a decade after the last one was torn down.
The new facility, known as “Project Ensemble”, will be built in the Hardturm neighbourhood of Switzerland’s largest city, located northwest of the main train station. In addition to a football stadium, it will include office space and high-rise buildings containing 600 flats. It was greenlighted by 53.8% of local voters on Sunday.
Construction of the CHF570 million ($571 million) facility was contested by the political Left, which argued that the project allows investing banks to construct luxury apartments for a bargain price.
The project’s investors want to finance the new stadium with earnings from the flats, meaning the city of Zurich will not have to dip into its coffers. However, as approved by voters on Sunday, the city will contribute to the costs by offering lower tax rates on the flats. Opponents of the project had argued that such a tax cut is too generous.
Zurich is home to two football teams, the Football Club Zurich and the Zurich Grasshoppers. They currently play at the Letzigrund Stadium, officially a track and field facility. Planners anticipate the teams’ new stadium at Hardturm will be finished for the 2022 football season.
However, complaints that were filed with the city before Sunday’s vote pertaining to the planned apartment high-rises, as well as another initiative on the issue from the left-wing Social Democrats, could delay construction plans.