FC Barcelona is again looking into the possibilities of either building a new stadium, or extensively renovating Camp Nou. This reports Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo based on a strategic report the club will internally discuss in the upcoming weeks.
The strategic report calls for the return of Espai Barça, a grand project from about five years ago that aimed at a major modernisation of the club’s facilities, including a complete make-over of the Camp Nou. The plans, designed by Foster + Partners, included a spectacular new exterior and roof structure, made up of coloured tiles and glass panels, and an increase in capacity to about 106,000 seats. However, due to the worsening economic situation the project in the end had to be abandoned.
Five years later though Barcelona’s financial situation has significantly improved, with an expected €21 million profit for the year, which leads the club to take a new look at building a new stadium or starting a redevelopment project.
The main reason the plans are back on the table is that Camp Nou, built in the 1950s, has significantly aged in recent years, leading to sky-rocketing maintenance costs, and a resulting need to invest to assure entry in the European Cup tournaments.
The current stadium furthermore does not lend itself for multifunctional use, something that has become increasingly important in the exploitation of present-day stadiums. And finally, of course, an increase and improvement of hospitality facilities and related services would lead to a significant rise in the club’s income.
The Espai Barça plan also included the construction of a range of different facilities such as a gym for the club’s socios, a hotel, parking facilities, more office space, and additional commercial activities, all mixed up with various green areas and open spaces.
Of course, the most important question remains whether the club could attract the required funding for the execution of the project. A meeting is planned for the second weekend in March, during which Barcelona president Rosell and the club’s directors will analyse the suggestions from the strategic plan. After that, we may know more.
[UPDATE] More details about a possible new Camp Nou.