Railyards Stadium

Capacity19 621
Country United States of America
CategoryDesign awaiting implementation
Cost$ 350 M
Design MANICA, Machete Group


Railyards Stadium – design description

Why should a new soccer stadium be built in Sacramento?

In December 2012, a group of businessmen who wanted to create a new football club in Sacramento were granted a licence to play in the USL Pro league from the 2014 season. At the time, the USL was considered the third most prestigious league in the United States, after the MLS and NASL (as of 2017, the USL is only behind the MLS). The new club was named Sacramento Republic FC, and the ambition of its officials was to join the MLS competition in the future.

Between March and July 2014, the club built its own temporary stadium on the Cal Expo grounds, with a capacity of 8,000 spectators (this was expanded in 2015 to a capacity of around 11,500 spectators). Before the new facility opened (it has been known as Heart Health Park since 2021), the team played its first league matches at Hughes Stadium, recording attendances in excess of 20,000 spectators, a record in the USL Pro league. The 2014 season was also extremely successful in sporting terms, with Sacramento Republic FC winning the competition in its USL Pro debut.

The club's long-term plans and ambitions to play in MLS meant that, from the very beginning, the officials thought about building a modern stadium that met the highest standards. This desire was further reinforced by good results and high interest. A site almost in the city centre, formerly occupied by railway infrastructure, was chosen as the preferred location. There are now plans to revitalise the area, and the construction of a football stadium is part of the plan.

What were the original plans for a stadium for Sacramento Republic FC?

The first, very preliminary renderings showing the new stadium in the chosen location appeared as early as 2014, while a completely new concept by award-winning studio HNTB was presented in December 2015.

The facility was to be given a closed form, with covered stands surrounding the pitch on all sides. The stylistically compact building was distinguished by red rhombuses on the facade, which were to refer to the red star - the symbol of California and the club itself. Inside, however, each stand was to have an individual character. The plan was for a capacity of 25,000 spectators. The estimated cost of the project was $226 million, which was to come mainly from private funds.

In April 2019, an updated version of the 2015 concept was unveiled. According to the new estimates, the development cost was to be $252 million and the capacity reduced to just over 20,000 spectators. In October 2019, it was announced that Sacramento Republic FC had been granted a licence to play in MLS from the 2022 season, so construction of the new stadium, which was one of the conditions for joining MLS, was due to start soon.

Why was the previous vision for a stadium for Sacramento Republic FC not implemented?

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and rising prices for materials and construction services caused delays in the project. In February 2021, the lead developer, Ron Burkle, withdrew from the project, resulting in the suspension of the MLS licence and putting the stadium project in serious doubt.

What is the new stadium concept for Sacramento Republic FC?

In April 2022, the club unveiled a new, slimmed-down stadium vision, prepared by studio MANICA in collaboration with Machete Group. According to the new design, the stadium will have four free-standing stands at each side of the pitch. There will be no spectator seating in the corners, although there will be above ground connectors to facilitate movement between the stands. The auditorium will not be covered and the façade will lack the red rhombuses that were one of the hallmarks of the previous design.

The facility would have a capacity of between 12,000 and 15,000 people (according to later reports, this figure was increased to 19,621 spectators). The assumed cost of the investment is $350m, significantly more than the estimated total of the old project before the pandemic. While the club's dream remains to enter MLS, with the new vision in place the team is likely to remain in the USL competition, which is growing in importance and popularity every year.



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