Lyon, 3 February 2012
Friday 3 February 2012 will be an historic date not only for Olympique Lyonnais but also for the French economy. The town of Décines has granted a construction permit for the "Stade des Lumières", the first 100% private stadium project in France. Recognised as a "public interest" facility, the new stadium will be central to the economic development of Lyon and its surrounding area.
Since Olympique Lyonnais was floated on the stock exchange in 2007, the club has wanted to develop its own infrastructure so as to generate the financial resources needed to step up growth, continue to expand and be in phase with UEFA's new Financial Fair Play rules.
As the Gerland stadium was no longer in line with the objectives of a modern club seeking to operate in safe, secure facilities, Olympique Lyonnais planned, together with Greater Lyon, to build a new sports complex in the town of Décines.
The various public entities affected by the programme took part in nine public inquiries between 14 June and 18 July 2011. All of the opinions rendered on these inquiries were positive.
The granting of the construction permit marks the close of a crucial period for Olympique Lyonnais and its partners (French government, Greater Lyon, Rhône General Council, Sytral, town of Décines).
This vast project, to be run by Foncière du Montout, a subsidiary of OL Groupe, will provide a real economic boost to the Lyon region and will be exemplary from the point of view of sustainable development, accessibility and job creation for Lyon's eastern suburbs. It will provide approximately 2,500 new jobs during the construction period and 1,000 permanent positions for the site as a whole.
It will be an ultra-modern complex covering an area of around 45 hectares (108 acres). It will include a 58,000-seat stadium, training grounds, the head office of Olympique Lyonnais and an OL Store, and it will be adjacent to two hotels and a leisure centre & entertainment complex, a health spa, and in all likelihood, a sports clinic. This dynamic complex will be open 365 days a year and will host attractive social amenities, such as numerous restaurants.
Private investment in the stadium and training grounds project is estimated to total ¤381 million (excl. VAT). This includes the cost of construction, general contractor fees, acquisition of the land, installations, studies and general fees, but excludes financing costs. External partners will invest additional amounts in the project, specifically in the hotels and the leisure & entertainment complex.
The partnership agreement signed by Olympique Lyonnais and the Vinci group will expand the equity base of the financing for the project. This is because Vinci has committed to participating in the financing in the form of equity or near-equity by becoming a shareholder of up to 49% of Foncière du Montout, the project sponsor.
Now that the construction permit has been obtained, the next phase can begin in earnest: putting together the financing for the project, for which Lazard bank has been retained.
All of the partners in the Stade des Lumières project are focused on meeting the targeted opening date in the summer of 2014. This is two years ahead of the start of the Euro 2016 in France.
The future stadium will receive the highest UEFA rating: 5 stars. This could enable Lyon to host the opening match and subsequently, the final of any of the principal European competitions, such as Europa League or the Champions League.
Laurence Morel Garrett
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