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Bratislava needs about €30 million more for its ice hockey stadium

Mayor Milan Ftáčnik announced at a Bratislava City Council session at the end of January that the city would need €30 million more to complete reconstruction of the Ondrej Nepela ice hockey stadium in time for the Ice Hockey World Championship, due to start on April 29. Originally, the stadium’s reconstruction was to have cost €75 million but it has ended up costing €96 million, including follow-on investments such as improvement of infrastructure surrounding the stadium, demolition of the nearby cycling stadium and interior fit-out of the ice rink.

Mayor Milan Ftáčnik announced at a Bratislava City Council session at the end of January that the city would need €30 million more to complete reconstruction of the Ondrej Nepela ice hockey stadium in time for the Ice Hockey World Championship, due to start on April 29. Originally, the stadium’s reconstruction was to have cost €75 million but it has ended up costing €96 million, including follow-on investments such as improvement of infrastructure surrounding the stadium, demolition of the nearby cycling stadium and interior fit-out of the ice rink.

“We partially solved this problem last year by decisions about so-called re-structuring of unpaid invoices owed to the contractor,” Ftáčnik told the SITA newswire. The Slovenská Sporiteľňa bank took over the outstanding invoices – the bank is connected to the city administration – and agreed a calendar of instalments for the next three years.

The city has now proposed re-structuring €14 million more with the bank that offers the best conditions. It also proposes, through the mayor, to provide some of the extra money required directly from the city budget – about €10 million. The city is also trying to negotiate with the Finance Ministry a deal that would secure part of the money from government funds. Ftáčnik said that city would thus give €18 million, plus the re-structuring from last year, and the state would give €12 million. The government has to decide whether the state will provide money for the renovation of the stadium, and if so how much. Ftáčnik tried to negotiate with the Slovak Ice Hockey Association, but it claimed it could not offer any money for completion of the stadium.

According to city councillor Ivo Nesrovnal, audits of costs and additional expenses concerning the stadium should be made. He also proposes re-evaluating the rental rates for sky-boxes and advertising space. The mayor also intends to re-open previously agreed contracts that he says were drafted to the benefit of the Slovan Bratislava hockey club and to the detriment of the city.

In related news, Váhostav, a company owned by Juraj Široký, president of the Slovak Ice Hockey Association, for the second time failed to wait for a construction licence before building facilities related to the Ice Hockey World Championship, the TASR newswire wrote on February 7. It has begun construction of a heliport on top of a hotel built next to the Ondrej Nepela stadium, although it has not even applied for a licence. Planning regulations state that Slovakia’s Aviation Office must issue a permit for the construction. The office says it knows about the planned heliport but has not received any application. The Construction Office of the Bratislava district of Nové Mesto, where the hotel is being built, opposes a landing place for helicopters, pointing to the densely populated surrounding neighbourhood. The regional health-care office, however, has issued a positive stance. The investor in the hotel is the company Tehelné pole, with Juraj Široký, head of the Slovak Ice Hockey Association, behind it, the Sme daily wrote.

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