Pattaya’s white-elephant football stadium project – 10 years late and 13 years under construction – may finally be finished this year.
Deputy Mayor Pattana Boonsawat and his deputies toured the 20,000-seat stadium complex on Soi Chaiyapruek 2 Jan. 10. He said the third of three 300-million-baht phases is now 50% complete.
The pace of work has been hysterically slow. In March, Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome visited the site and said the entire project (not specifying the phase) was 60% done. In January 2020, it had been 40% complete.
The stadium itself is basically done. Now workers are building a cycling path around the area, including the Eastern National Indoor Sports Stadium, with a swimming pool, fencing and landscaping still to be done.
It’s hoped the entire project will be concluded sometime in 2022, before the July 2023 Asian games are held there.
Pattaya officials should know better than to make such predictions. Former mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, brother of current Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome, finally gave up predicting completion after missing deadline after deadline.
Begun in 2009, the sports complex originally budgeted at 774 million baht was intended to house 12 different sports fields, swimming pool, tennis court, 12 main and minor sports stadiums and a 500-car parking lot.
The first phase of the 254-rai project, with 90 million baht spent on 5,000 of the planned 20,000 seats at the football stadium, was completed in September 2010. Grass was planted and construction of the final 15,000 seats was supposed to begin with a 500-million-baht budget later that year, with completion set for late 2012.
Nothing was done for six years.
In 2018, Chonburi Province obtained 398 million baht in funding for 2018-2020 and hired Rama 2-HT Joint Venture Co to finish the job. Work restarted in 2019 on the west grandstand roof and east and south grandstands.