Real Madrid’s new-look stadium could include hotel and shopping mall

Agreement reached with City Hall over development of capital’s iconic Bernabéu soccer ground

Artist's impression of the new-look Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
Artist's impression of the new-look Santiago Bernabéu stadium.

Real Madrid and Madrid City Hall have reached a deal over development plans for the soccer side’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium.

On Tuesday, Florentino Pérez, the club’s president, and Manuela Carmena, Madrid’s mayor, held a press conference to announce that Real Madrid plans to build a hotel and shopping mall within the 125,000 square meters currently occupied by the soccer ground.

There is nothing worse for a city than these kinds of impasses Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena

In February, Madrid’s regional High Court ruled against an ambitious plan to expand the stadium that had been approved by City Hall in 2012, deciding it would violate local zoning laws.

The decision put on hold Pérez’s proposals to construct a shopping mall and hotel complex at the Bernabéu.

City Hall and the Madrid regional government, both controlled at the time by the Popular Party (PP), approved the plans, which included a complex series of land transactions between the soccer side and the local government, whereby a shopping center and hotel would have been built on some 12,250 square meters of land outside the Bernabéu, facing the capital’s main Paseo de la Castellana thoroughfare, under which a 600-space car park would be built. This area will now be developed as the main entry point into the stadium.

In return, Real Madrid agreed to demolish La Esquina shopping mall on the south eastern edge of the stadium, between Concha Espina and Padre Damián streets, and create a 15,000-square-meter public park there. It would also have given Madrid City Hall four plots of land in the capital’s Carabanchel district, as well as paying €6.6 million.

The stadium has been remodeled several times since it was built in 1947

But after a complaint against the proposals was filed by environmental group Ecologists in Action in 2012, the regional High Court ordered an injunction until it could issue its ruling at the end of last year.

Ten months later, Real Madrid and City Hall appear to have reached agreement: the new-look stadium, which dates back to 1947 and has been remodeled several times since then, will have a retracting roof able to cover the stands and the entire pitch, while the east stand will be replaced to accommodate 3,000 seats to match the west stand. At the same time, a luxury hotel will be built within the stadium, along with a shopping mall. The whole project will cost €400 million, said Pérez, adding that work will begin “as soon as possible.”

Florentino Pérez and Manuela Carmena.
Florentino Pérez and Manuela Carmena.Á. G.

Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena, who heads up Ahora Madird, a bloc linked to the left-leaning anti-austerity Podemos party, highlighted the importance of having resolved the issue in the wake of the court’s ruling in December. “There is nothing worse for a city than these kinds of impasses,” she said, praising Real Madrid for its “willingness to talk” and its “cooperation.”

The new-look stadium will be similar externally to Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, with a translucent roof that will emit low-level light in a range of colors. The retractable roof will be opened in summer to allow for full ventilation of the stadium, while at the same time reducing noise from within.

English version by Nick Lyne.


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