The Milan Cortina 2026 Olympic Village is to be built on a disused railway yard "©COIMA

The city of Milan has formally approved the building permit which will enable work on the Milan Cortina 2026 Olympic Village to begin this month at the disused Porta Romana railway yard in Milan.

Italian developers COIMA SGR and their partners Covivio and Prada Holding and COIMA ESG City Impact fund had purchased the disused site for €180 million (£158 million/$191 million) in November 2020.

Applications for the permit to build had been submitted in October 2021, but there had been legal challenges before the formal papers were processed.

Dispensation had been given for preliminary excavations on the site before the completion of the formal paperwork.

The consortium has claimed that this will enable work to start four months ahead of schedule on a site which has an area of 60,000 square metres.

They have promised the project will create "a resilient community that promotes the health and wellbeing of citizens," and to promote "biodiversity, enhancement of natural capital, forestry and urban agriculture solutions."

Preparation work is to include "decarbonisation consistent with local conditions."

Excavation and bulkhead work is expected to be completed by the end of February.

The development is financed by the Intesa Saopaolo bank which has supported the work with a loan which is provided with conditions linked to sustainability.

Constructors are required to monitor environmental and ecological objectives with performance indicators that guide the design and construction process.

Plans have been drawn up in line with protocols of the Paris Agreement, the European Green Deal and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan which has been designed in accordance with sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations.

The Village has been described as "the first building block" in the regeneration of the Porta Romana area of the city.

"Its function is to offer a primary space for the 2026 Winter Olympics, which then becomes an asset to be returned to the city’s community," publicity for the project said.

The deadline for completion of the work has been set for July 2025 when the Village is expected to be formally handed over to the Milan Cortina Foundation.

By coincidence, the Olympic Village at Torino 2006, the last Winter Olympics staged in Italy, was also adjacent to a railway in the city.

Workmen were still adding the final touches in the last month before the 2006 Games began.