Two skyscrapers and a park to replace Atlético de Madrid stadium

Soccer team moves to new facilities while old site will house residential and commercial blocks

A montage of what the area next to the Manzanares will eventually look like.
A montage of what the area next to the Manzanares will eventually look like.

The final countdown has begun for the Vicente Calderón soccer stadium. In 2022, the home of Atlético de Madrid, the city’s other major soccer club, will be replaced by two skyscrapers and an enormous riverside park.

The city of Madrid, under Mayor Ana Botella of the Popular Party (PP), is scheduled to give its final approval to the project on Thursday.

According to the project plans, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the current site of the Calderón will be filled by two 36-storey towers and eight smaller buildings, which will have a mixed residential and commercial use.

Getting the development approved required a change to regional legislation

But before that part of the project is complete, in 2016, the club will move to La Peineta stadium in the San Blas district.

Getting the development approved required a change to regional legislation that had prevented any building in the area from being more than three storeys high, with the option of adding an attic. This prohibition, which dated from 2007, was upheld by the Madrid Superior Court of Justice in 2012, when it struck down an earlier zoning plan designed by the city for this same area.

But with the change in regional premiers (Esperanza Aguirre stepped down in September 2012 and was replaced by Ignacio González, also of the PP), new amendments were introduced into the law in April 2013, paving the way for the new development project.

Construction work, which falls to Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), is expected to begin next year – barring any new legal hurdles – and end in 2022 or 2023.

The total surface area that will undergo changes, including the buildings and the new park, encompasses 204,218 square meters of land located in the Arganzuela district, and whose borders are defined by the Paseo de Pontones, Paseo Imperial, Paseo Virgen del Puerto, Alejandro Dumas street and the Manzanares river.

Once the stadium has been demolished, the city also plans to bury the last overground section of the M-30 beltway

The land is 55-percent municipally owned, with 30 percent belonging to the former Mahou beer factory that stood here until 2010, and 15 percent to the soccer club.

Of the total surface area, 48,054 square meters will be occupied by buildings and the remaining 156,164 square meters will be for green areas and public services.

The local public school, which serves 455 students and is located on Alejandro Dumas street, will also be expanded.

Once the stadium has been demolished, the city also plans to bury the last section of the M-30 beltway – between Mármol street and the new Arganzuela park – that still runs above ground.

For Atlético de Madrid, the move means a newer stadium with capacity for 20,000 more fans

Additionally, two new boulevards will head down from Puerta de Toledo, while an avenue will connect the area with the Pirámides roundabout.

In all, the city is planning to create 37,322 square meters of new green areas next to Madrid Río, the latest major park to be built in the city, which is located on the banks of the Manzanares.

The city has promised that no major store will be allowed to open in the area, only small and medium businesses.

For Atlético de Madrid, the move means swapping an ageing stadium for a much newer one with capacity for 20,000 more fans, up to a maximum of 73,000. La Peineta was inaugurated in 1994 after a €50-million investment with a view to turning it into an Olympic stadium. But following Madrid’s failed Olympic bids, La Peineta had become “underutilized” and fallen into “a serious state of disrepair,” according to city sources.