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Barcelona stadium and arena upgrade referendum set for April

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Barcelona FC is to put a stadium (105,000) and arena (10,000) upgrade plan to a member referendum on 5 or 6 April. As previously in its history, the club has chosen to build new facilities on the current site. President Sandro Rosell explained:

The option of building a new stadium on a new site has been dismissed as the final cost could well mortgage the Club’s future…This was a difficult decision. Both projects were very attractive, but our commitment was to submit to a referendum projects which were viable from a technical, urban planning and economic standpoint.

The project has some similarities to a previous Foster+Partners design and is broadly along the lines proposed by Presidential candidate Agusti Benedito at Stadia & Arena 2013 in Istanbul. The club has been working with ISG, AEG, ICON Venue Group and Ryder Levett Bucknall.

This new Camp Nou would include three main areas: the Camp Nou itself, a new Palau Blaugrana for 10,000 spectators and the Espai Barça (Barça Space), which would involve buildings for different purposes integrated into the district. The restructuring would mean moving the new Miniestadi to the Ciutat Esportiva training ground, which would seat between 6,000 and 7,000 people.

As well as a reconfigured spectator bowl, there will be a new ring of boxes and restaurants overlooking the pitch, along with ‘superboxes’ and other VIP services between the first and second tiers.. The quality of the VIP services will be vastly improved both in terms of quantity and quality (3,500 new seats would create a total of 5,700 luxury seats).

Board member Javier Faus explained that the redevelopment would generate an extra £24m of revenue per season and that the cost of the redevelopment (600m Euros) would be repaid within eight years.

The stadium walkways and corridors will also be changed. There will be a perimeter ring to make passage between different zones smoother, and will also enable improvements to the range of culinary items on offer, as well as better cleaning services and public conveniences. Escalators and lifts will be used to reach the third tier, and the current structure will be vastly more streamlined, and will receive much more daylight.

If the referendum on April 5 or 6 gives the project the go-ahead, then the work on the new Camp Nou would begin in May 2017, depending on the eventual plans and municipal permits, and take almost four years, with much of the work being done during the close-season, finalising in February 2021