Court halts Real Madrid’s plans to remodel Bernabéu stadium

Work to expand soccer arena stopped in response to petition filed by environmental group

An artist’s impression of the proposed new-look stadium.
An artist’s impression of the proposed new-look stadium.

Madrid’s regional High Court has put Real Madrid soccer club’s plans to remodel its Santiago Bernabéu stadium in the center of the capital on hold as a precaution in response to a petition from environmental group Ecologists in Action.

The Spanish non-profit organization had requested that work to extend the stadium and build a shopping mall and hotel next to it should be halted while the club is under investigation by the European Commission to establish whether it received illegal state aid.

In July 2012, City Hall approved a change to the capital’s planning laws allowing Real Madrid to build a 12,250-square-meter leisure center on prime real estate in front of the Bernabéu stadium facing the main Paseo de la Castellana thoroughfare.

Real Madrid also hopes to build a 600-space parking lot below the 85,000-all seater stadium, as well as making over the exterior to enclose the last of its three stands.

The non-profit had requested that work should be halted while the club is under investigation by the EC

The deal saw Real Madrid give City Hall a 6,858-square-meter plot of land behind the stadium that houses a shopping mall that has been struggling to attract tenants for several years.

Real Madrid also agreed to give City Hall four plots of land covering 5,000 square meters in the working-class neighborhood of Carabanchel, in the south of the city, to be used for housing and recreation areas.

Real Madrid is being charged €6.6 million by City Hall for increasing the surface area it will occupy around the Bernabéu stadium.

The capital’s government has defended the project, saying it will create around 3,000 direct jobs, and around 600 others when the shopping mall is completed. It adds that the Bernabéu, already a major tourist attraction, will bring in more visitors to the area, as well as providing extra tax revenue for the city’s coffers.

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