No capacity increase, no hotel, no shopping center or extra parking. And yet the budget is almost unchanged, a whopping €400 million for reconstruction of Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
Earlier today Real Madrid signed presented the long-anticipated agreement with the Madrid City Council, finally allowing the redevelopment of Santiago Bernabéu to go forward. The plan was initially scheduled to end in 2017, but hasn’t even started. For the last two years the project has been on hold, entangled in protests and court proceedings.
So how did the scheme finally get Madrid city’s approval? Real significantly downsized the planned redevelopment.
Most important information for fans is that capacity will not increase. While the initial 2013-2014 concept suggested growth to 93,530 seats, the current plan foresees only 3,000 new business seats atop the east stand. But with some seats being replaced with wider ones, there will be no increase at all and the new final capacity should remain around the 80,000-85,000 level Real have already.
In terms of matchday and non-event revenue for Real there’s also bad news. While the first concept had a shopping center, hotel and additional parking spaces, none of these uses will be delivered.
Real may include some commercial use once they vacate their offices (releasing up to 8,000 m2), but final use of those is still being analysed. Overall the scheme lost 27,000 m2 of floor space when compared to the 2014 version (back then 152,000 m2, now 125,000 m2).
OK, so what’s left? First, the futuristic metallic outer wrap. hiding extended spectator concourses, the new skin was simplified a bit compared to the initial vision, but is still impressive and retained the possibility of being used as a giant screen.
Speaking of screens, also the panoramic giant screen above the field is still planned, just as retractable roof. That said, both the roof and screen will be installed slightly lower than initially planned, due to the building’s height limitation.
Also, 6,000 m2 of public green will be created beside the east stand, where the current La Esquina del Bernabéu commercial pavilion is.
So despite being simplified and less multi-use than hoped, the stadium redevelopment can finally begin. Not now of course, first phase will be launched after the 2016/17 season. From then it should all be ready within three years.
One major piece of bad news is the price tag. While there have been many changes done, they hardly impacted total cost. From €420 million in 2014 the budget was cut back only by €20 million, to €400m.