Could the Rolling Stones help repay the Krestovsky stadium

Could the Rolling Stones help repay the Krestovsky stadium
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Pavel GORIACHKIN, Russian Union of estimators-engineers

Saint-Petersburg authorities (the city committee for construction) has reported recently that the estimated cost of the stadium on Krestovsky island totals 41.7 bln roubles (over $725m).

According to them, the cost estimate includes two latest contracts with the general contractor, Metrostroy, for the sum of 3 bln roubles ($52.6m) comprised of December agreements for 952m and 2.07 bln roubles. The noted sum includes the expenses on the improvement of the surrounding territory and access control zones.  

Additionally, almost 1.9 bln roubles (over $33m) for the stadium’s adaptation for the WC-2018 are included in the city budget: according to the committee’s press office, the subsidies for 2017 total 1.148 bln roubles (over $20m), for 2018 — 803 m roubles (over $14m).

However, journalists have counted that 46 bln roubles ($800m) have already been invested in the stadium. This means that officials from the construction committee have “lost” about 5 bln roubles (≈$87m), which is not at all surprising as a lot of time has passed since the beginning of the construction…

Of course, it is a unique object and nobody would think it to be cheap – it is impossible when taking into account the terms of the work, its complexity and all the requirements. As far as I can evaluate everything, it might cost about 35 bln roubles (≈$609m), but not more. So there is evident over-estimation of up to 8 bln roubles (138.7m), according to our calculations, and I have no doubt about this.

We, estimators-engineers, have always spoken about these abuses, and I may conclude now that overestimates are connected with concrete works and metal structures, constituting about 70% of the “extra” money. The remaining 30% of the overestimates were made during the purchasing of equipment and other things now under investigation in relation to the case of former Vice Governor, Marat Oganesyan, etc.

I want to stress that all these violations are not recent, however, and that they were made several years ago, with the current contractor, Metrostroy, having nothing to do with them.

Could the Rolling Stones help repay the Krestovsky stadium

As a specialist, I have my own opinion about the use of the expensive design and construction solutions. But the main thing now is that the stadium will be a heavy economic burden both for the city budget and for the Zenit football club (and the documents for the stadium’s transfer to the club are ready now).

Why a burden? I am absolutely sure that the Krestovsky stadium will never be paid off. To remind you, stadiums all over the world are rather burdensome and problematic for their owners. For example, Roman Abramovich is Chelsea football club’s owner, but does not own the Stamford Bridge stadium, whose owners do not know how to get rid of it.

And the London stadium built for the Olympics–2012 was later partly dismounted as operational expenses had to be decreased.  The same concerns other arenas, including the Sochi Fisht stadium, which was partly dismounted after the Olympics-2014 and is now being reconstructed to a football stadium.

The Krestovsky stadium is likely to be repaid only if The Rolling Stones will give daily concerts for several consecutive years because only they may gather 68,000 spectators. However, as far as I understand, they have different plans …

What can we say when the Petrovsky stadium with its maximum capacity of 21,000 people is not always packed with fans at Zenit’s matches? It would be naïve to hope that when the Krestovsky stadium will be rented by Zenit (in fact, by their sponsor, Gazprom), it will help solve the problems. Irrespective of whoever operates the arena, the burden remains a heavy one.

According to my calculations, if the stadium is managed properly the received income will cover the operating expenditures. So, the city authorities have nothing to be proud of because everything was clear from the very beginning. And now you may feel proud of paying the money necessary for it.