Mark Pannes “The stadium is a work of public interest”

Roma’s board member Mark Pannes has given an interview to Roma Channel. Here are his words about the future Stadio della Roma:

What are the last news about the project?
“The last updates are positive. Since the presentation of the project last March, we have made some progress by refining the design, working on project financing and discussed about topics like security and the commercial impact. We are really satisfied.”

Any update by the city council of Rome for what concern the approval?
“There are several elements to take into account. Rarely a project of such a high-profile is instantly approved. The dossier has been given to the authorities and we are in contact with the city council. Mayor Marino and his staff have been outstanding, and dealt with us in a professional manner. This allows us to work in close contact with the city of Rome and help us tackling the pivotal points of the project.”

Can you explain to us the public interest points of the project?
“Comments about this matter have always been centered around the club and the stadium. But the reality is that our concept of “public interest” is way broader. We think several factors come into play and they have to be exploited. Employment, for example, is a crucial aspect: we are talking about 3000 people being employed in the construction process, and the same amount having a full-time employment after everything will be completed. If we consider the areas which will be dedicated to entertainment, like cinemas, and to other purposes like offices or restaurants, the figure will increase even more. There will be an initial economic impact, but over time this will generate wealth in the order of hundreds of million of Euros each year. This is a positive aspect and will help a lot of companies grow. This will guarantee a stable income for thousands of people, money that will then flow back to the council through taxation. We’re improving the transport system in the area and developing green areas as well. All this having the public interest in mind. And let’s not forget that this project will deliver a state-of-the-art stadium to all the Romanisti and the city of Rome. And it will not be just about football: it will offer any kind of entertainment. Even who is not a Roma fan will be able to use the facilities.”

Why is an integrated plan so important?
“Because it will let everybody understand how the different aspect will work together in an organic project meant to be financially sustainable. That’s because infrastructural costs are very high and you need a stream of revenue to support them. The stadium area and the operative centre will be open all day long, creating an effective system that will allow us to cope with the costs.”

Can you explain to us the relationship between AS Roma and the company that will control the stadium?
“It’s very simple really. We heard a lot of conspiracies about, but the structure is straightforward: a property group will have a share in the ownership of the club, ad will control the stadium as well. What we have is a property group and the stadium on one side, and the club on the other, both controlled by Mr. Pallotta. Unicredit, that as you may know is partially an owner of the club as well, refused to be involved in project financing. That’s why we couldn’t go for a stadium owned by both Pallotta and Unicredit, so we were forced to go for this pyramidal structure. What we should understand though is that the property of both the club and the stadium is managed by Mr. Pallotta through a holding. For what concerns the possibility of having the club or the stadium being sold separately, it’s extremely unlikely. The two properties will complement each other, and one will be worth considerably less without the other.”

How are you tackling environmental issues?
“We’ve had this in mind since the very beginning. There’s great concern about sustainability and green technologies, and we’ve invested to guarantee that the area will be as “green” as possible.”

Can you illustrate to us the plan for transports and connections to the stadium?
“We need to improve the road connections in and around the area. We want to link them properly by using the highway. We also understand that an improvement for what concern the connectivity (?) to Via del Mare and Via Ostiense is needed., as well as an underground improvement nearby Tor di Valle. We’ve developed a detailed project on this that will have a direct impact on the costs. Almost 300 million dollars of private investment will target the infrastructures. We knew it would have been extremely difficult to find a company that would carry a project which is so financially imposing, and we’re proud to have achieved this. Last but not least, security is a serious concern: we’re working to guarantee the highest level of protection to Roma fans and the customers of the commercial facilities.”