specials | 2016-03-10
Introducing the New Camp Nou - Part II
The awaited Camp Nou reform has chosen its project, here's everything you need to know about the Espai Barça project and how it will change the club and its surroundings
Have you read the first part to understand how they selected the winning project? If not, click here.
The budget for the Espai Barça project is €600 million. In 2014 when the project started it was announced that this would be divided as follows: €360 million for the new Camp Nou, €90 million for the new Palau Blaugrana, €48 million for the new parking spaces, €36 million for Campus Barça, €36 million for the changes to the urban planning of the Les Corts neighborhood, €24 million for the new Miniestadi and €6 million in “global” spending.
When the club defined the Project two years ago they said that the €600 million would come from three sources, each representing €200 million: a sponsor that would give the stadium a last name, own funds (it would amount to about €50 million in the budget of each of the four years that the construction is supposed to last) and a new line of credit. Last summer, when they started studying how the naming rights (adding a last name to the stadium name) idea works and after a series of visits around the world, the initial plans changed. The sponsor could end up representing up to €300 million. If they accomplish this objective it could reduce the own funds the club would have to provide and the credit it would have to take out.
The platform Manifest Blaugrana noticed that the “own funds part is the most alarming one because it can modify the sporting politic of the club or compromise its future. If it’s assumed that the own funds will be generated by the new stadium itself, it’s obvious that these funds will only come when the works are very advanced. Until then someone will have to pay the work being done. The question is: will it be paid with an additional credit line? With funds from the Club? If it’s with another credit line then there will be two of them, with a double financial cost and the debt going through the roof. If it’s with funds from the club: what money will be used for signings? Is there sufficient cash flow to guarantee that we can build and make transfers in the next five years? No.”
A sponsored name for the stadium and the Espai Barça?
The company that is looking for this sponsor is Von Wagner. The American company has found 18 naming rights partners for its clients since 1998. Among them are the New York Jets and the New York Giants, two NFL teams that share a stadium sponsored by MetLife, and Arsenal FC, whose stadium is sponsored by Emirates.
At the start of last fall the company signed a contract with the club. It was given 18 months to fulfill this job, even though the club thinks that this could be done before the end of this year. Bartomeu had even intended to take it to the next General Assembly, but ended up deciding against this. A couple of days ago, during the presentation of the new Palau Blaugrana, Jordi Moix said that the club is planning on finding a sponsor that names the stadium and a different one for the name of the Palau, but sources say that the club prioritizes finding a big company that could name the entire Espai Barça. The important challenge to take into account is the fact that the club has to find a brand that doesn’t clash with any of the other sponsors the club currently has.
When the project was approved by referendum, the club predicted that the debt would be lower than €200 million when the work on the stadium began. Right now, that prediction doesn’t seem to stand, as the debt was €328 million when the club presented its financial situation and it is predicted to be lowered to €270 million by the end of the current fiscal year. When asked about this issue in the past, both Jordi Moix and the club’s economic vice president, Susana Monje have said that the club wouldn’t be in danger even if that €200 million debt target isn’t accomplished before the works on the stadium start.
It is not planned that the cost of the season tickets will be increased, but since there would be more services offered to the members, that could lead some of the season ticket holders to change the fee they pay so that they could have access to all the new Camp Nou would have to offer.
New Palau Blaugrana and New Miniestadi
The working schedule establishes that this year the projects for the new Camp Nou and the new Palau Blaugrana will be finalized. While this happens, the new Miniestadi will be built in FC Barcelona’s Ciutat Esportiva, with a scheduled opening at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
The new Palau Blaugrana is designed and will have its construction overseen by HOK Architecture in partnership with the Catalan firm TAC Arquitectes, which was the firm that won the tender for the project.
The budget for this is approximately €90 million with the objective being to start the works during the 2017-2018 season and finish them during 2019-2020. According to the jury the winning proposal is “remarkably innovative with its concept of a multi-functional Palau, and is also outstanding for its permeability, flexibility and personality. With organic geometry, it offers a fine sequence between the Palau, annex court, ice ring and the FCB Escola facilities.”
The Palau Blaugrana capacity will increase to 12,000 spectators
HOK Architecture is one of the most important firms in the United States in terms of architecture and engineering, with experience of all kinds of project all around the world. HOK developed the American Airlines Arena in Miami, the Nationwide Arena in Ohio and the Stockton Arena in California. The team also has the experience of being the architects behind the First Direct Arena in Leeds. Locally, Eduard Gascón of TAC Arquitectes leads a solid team with extensive experience of the development of all kinds of projects in Barcelona, such as the award-winning Parc del Turó de Can Mates, the Technology Centre in Manresa and office buildings in Barcelona.
The new Palau Blaugrana will have a capacity to hold up to 12,000 spectators for sporting events and up to 12,500 for social and cultural events, a flexible and retractable seating configuration that adapts to each use (sports arena, theater, spectacle hall, auditorium etc). Its design is asymmetrical: a single seating bowl and an extension at the back of the stands overlooking the stadium. The food and hospitality services will be improved. There will be 24 VIP boxes and four sky bars/lounges with court views. The corridors will be spacious, easily accessible and fully adapted for persons with reduced mobility. There will be specific features for each professional section and excellent views from all seats.
The project includes an adjacent court with a capacity for up to 2,000 spectators, an ice rink fitting 800 fans and the FCBEscola facilities, with two football pitches.
The requirements included the need for the main and auxiliary courts to be located on the same level, with shared locker rooms and services for athletes, with each sports section having its own compact area including all necessary services. There will also be a 200 m2 pressroom with work areas and specific services, and for access to the court to be via three tunnels to assist with assembly and disassembly of operations for different matches and other event.
The new Palau is being built on the site of the current Miniestadi so work on it will start after the new Miniestadi is finalized.
The new Miniestadi will be constructed under the design and supervision of the Batlle i Roig architecture studio, whose bid won the tender for this project. It was competing with other five Catalan architecture firms and a Basque one.
The club noted that their bid was selected because “architecturally, it presented the most appropriate scaled proposal for the needs of FC Barcelona. Furthermore, it complied with the timeframe and the cost requirements, and came with an integrated 360º design to improve the atmosphere in the stadium. It also included a grandstand building and a versatile design to expand the stand in the future. It met the necessary requirements in terms of both environmental issues (energy certification, maintenance reduction, solar energy) and economic (efficient building processes and sponsorship opportunities).”
The plan put forward by Batlle i Roig Arquitectes, which has already participated in the architectural definition of the Ciutat Esportiva, has proposed a Miniestadi adapted to the requirements of the competition. It will have a capacity of 6,000 spectators, upgraded to a Category 3 stadium as defined by UEFA, with sheltered tiers, a parking lot of 600 spaces and an operational function independent of the Ciutat Esportiva. Its inauguration is expected to be during 2017/18 season
The land on which the new stadium is being built is a parcel of 26,811 m2 acquired by the club at the end of 2013 from the city of Sant Joan Despí for €8.21 million, which will make the Ciutat Esportiva have an area of 162,905 m2, 26 percent more than it does now.
Work on the new Miniestadi grounds has started already with the demolition of the El Forn tennis club that had occupied those grounds before. This work is supposed to take up to eight weeks, after which work on the new stadium can start.
Proposed timeline for the work
1. Summer of 2017 (June and July): Demolition of the first tier in the North and South Stands. Capacity: 85,583
2. Summer of 2017 (July and August): Construction of the new first tier in the North and South Stands. Capacity: 95,150
3. 2017-2018 season: Work inside the tiers, groundwork for circulation ring surrounding the first tier, construction of the third tier in the North and South Stands. Capacity: 95,150
4. Summer of 2018 (June and July): Demolition of the first tier in the Lateral stand. Capacity: 79,948
5. Summer of 2018 (July and August): Construction of the new first tier in the Lateral stand. Alteration of seats in the second tier in the North and South Stands and in the Lateral stand. Finalization of the third tier in the North and South Stands. Capacity: 100,611
6. Season 2018-2019: Groundwork for circulation ring, Construction of the third tier in the Main Stand. Capacity: 100,611
7. Summer 2019 (June and July): Demolition of the first tier in the Main Stand. Capacity: 86,816
8. Summer 2019 (July and August): Construction of the first tier in the Main Stand. Finalization of the third tier in the Main Stand. Alteration of seats in the third tier of the Lateral Stand. Capacity: 94,587
9. Season 2019-2020: Finalization of the circulation ring. Capacity: 94,587
10. Summer 2020 (June and July): Starting work on the roof structure. Capacity: 105,053
11. Summer 2020 (August): Construction of the roof. Capacity: 105,053
12. Season 2020-2021 (September to May): Construction of the roof. Capacity: 105,053
13. Season 2020-2021 (October to February): Finalizing the Works. Capacity: 105,053
Note that this timeline might change when the final model and project for the new stadium are presented in a few weeks. Hopefully that will also be the moment when more of the questions that currently surround the Espai Barça’s project (finances, approvals, etc) will be answered.
The Camp Nou was inaugurated on September 24, 1957, replacing the old Les Corts ground. Despite the fact that it had a capacity of 48,000 seats it was too small for the expectations the team of the time was raising. The works cost 288 million pesetas and put the club in debt for several years. The name Camp Nou became popular among the fans and it became the stadium’s official name in the 2000-2001 season, picked by the members over the name Estadi del FC Barcelona.
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
Sources: FC Barcelona, Mundo Deportivo, Sport, Diari Ara and Palco 23.
WRITTEN BY: Diana Uzum
Barcelona fan since the days of Kluivert and Rivaldo. Been here for the good, the bad and the ugly.