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Less green, more concrete: drone photos of the huge new handball arena in Budapest

The new handball arena was planned to be built for the 2022 European Men’s Handball Championship to be hosted by Hungary and Slovakia together. The oval shape of the building can be clearly seen on the drone recordings. According to the government, Budapest will benefit from the new green spaces, but satellite images show otherwise: most of the trees on the plot have been cleared. In reality, people of the capital get parking lots and concrete. The price of the gigantic facility is 225 million EUR (78.7 billion HUF) net.

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The stadium with a capacity to seat more than 20,000 spectators is scheduled to be completed by the autumn of 2021. Budapest’s new sports hall is located on the property between the Népliget bus terminus and Gyáli street. The oval shape of the hand hall can already be clearly seen on the drone recordings. By now, the round frame was almost done, the stand sections were formed, and the roof structure was also half-finished.

According to the government, Budapest will benefit from the new green spaces. But before anyone thinks the area is getting greener thanks to the handball hall, it’s worth checking the Google Maps’ archive footage, which shows something else. The trees on the plot were bulldozed just before the hall was started to build. On the right of the visualization there is a wide wooded area, but it is not part of the plot.

The aerial photo above was taken in 2019, the one below was taken in 2020. Source: Google Earth

One of the government decisions raised the buildability on one part of the multifunctional hall area to 80 percent, while the rate of green space was fixed at a very low 15 percent. On the rest part, these values were set to 65 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Last year the lowest bid for the first public tender for the construction of the Handball Arena was 331 million EUR (116 billion HUF), and the highest one was 456 million EUR (160 billion HUF). After seeing the costs, the government decided that the total amount of the investment should not exceed 288 million EUR gross (101 billion HUF), which means a net amount of 211 million EUR (74 billion HUF). In the second round, the bids decreased by billions of forints.

First, the winner Market Építő Zrt. would have undertaken the construction for a net 441 million EUR (153.9 billion HUF), but eventually they will build it for half this price, for 225 million EUR (78.7 billion HUF) net.

The visualalization of the arena. Source: Kocsis Máté/Facebook

Written by Szilvia Zsilák. You can read the more detailed Hungarian version of this article here.

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