Krakow Lands New Stadium

Poland’s biggest bank, PKO Bank Polska, has agreed to lend the city of Krakow 300 million złoty to fund a new Olympic arena near Nowa Huta.

The five-storey, 5,000 sq. metre arena, with seating for 15,000 spectators, is to be built at Park Lotniczy in the Czyżyny district. It will have facilities for hockey, figure skating, athletics, basketball, volleyball and handball, and is expected to become the most prominent venue in Krakow for concerts, exhibitions and trade fairs.

Giant TV screens will be integrated in the outer shell of the flying saucer-shaped arena, allowing events taking place inside to be broadcast to passers-by. And, when the seating inside is retracted, the capacity will rise to 18,000.

If the project is completed on schedule, the new arena will open at the end of 2013. It could be used to host volleyball world cup matches the following year.

The city of Krakow has already signed a deal with developer consortium Mostostal, who will construct the new stadium. However, the city has not yet found an operator for the arena, so will manage the facility while talks continue with events firms in the US and Britain. Krakow’s mayor, Jacek Majchrowski, said it was too early to reveal the names of the companies involved.

However, speaking to press as the investment was announced, Mr Majchrowski said the arena would rejuvenate the area around Czyżyny.

Referring to the five-year struggle to find funding and viable partners for the arena project, Mr Majchrowski added: “This investment has so far had no luck, but today we can say that we have removed all the obstacles that stood in the way of its implementation. The arena will be ready
in thirty months time, and Ulica Lem will
be an access road to an important point
in the city.”

Jarosław Myjak, vice-president of PKO, said projects such as the Krakow Olympic arena were a mainstay of the bank’s investment portfolio.

Mr Myjak added: “ Local government units and affiliates of the local government are a significant segment of the bank’s clients, which offer a wide range of products, mainly to cover investment shortfalls, repayment of previous commitments and investment in infrastructure.

“In the near future we want to strive for further development of products and financing methods to best suit the changing needs of the sector. Our priority is to actively participate in co-financing, with the participation of EU funds, local investments made by local government units and entities associated with them, such as the construction and repair of roads, sewers, water services or the renovation of historic areas.”

Among the bank’s 3.4 billion złoty public sector investments in the past year have also been funds for new water supplies in the Małopolska towns of Andrychów and Skawina. Elsewhere, the bank has made loans to cover projects such as hospitals, public transport, education and waste disposal.

The announcement about funding for Krakow’s new stadium comes as Warsaw has said its national football stadium will not be completed on schedule. The stadium, which will host five Euro 2012 games, was to open next month but is now set to be completed at the end of the year.

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