English Premier League football club Crystal Palace has today (Monday) unveiled ambitious plans to redevelop Selhurst Park in a move that will increase the stadium’s capacity from 26,000 to 34,000.
The project, which the club said would create a new Crystal Palace to reflect the modern era, is expected to cost between £75m ($101m.€86m) and £100m.
It is hoped the project will transform the match-day experience for supporters, while maintaining Selhurst Park’s atmosphere, which is considered one of the best in the Premier League. Selhurst Park has been the home of the South London club since 1924.
Central to the renovation will be a new five-storey stand featuring an all-glass front – a tribute to the club’s early days when it was based in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace on Sydenham Hill.
The stand will feature a central vaulted arch with Palace’s famous eagle crest. The project is being designed by leading architecture firm KSS, whose previous projects include Anfield, Twickenham and Wimbledon. Palace said the new stand’s roof will be designed to funnel sound down to the pitch and the Arthur Wait Stand opposite.
Palace will submit the plans to Croydon Council in January and it is hoped work on the ground will begin inside 12 months, subject to planning permission. The project is likely to take up to three years to complete.
Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “We need a stadium that reflects who we are, how far we have come and where we want to go – a stadium that South London can be proud of, a home worthy of our incredible support and unique atmosphere and this great Premier League we represent.
“We have worked long and hard and looked at several options over the years, including returning to the original site of Crystal Palace, which wasn’t viable. While we can’t go back to it, we can build a new one and today I am proud, in conjunction with our partners KSS, to introduce a new Selhurst Park with a new Crystal Palace for a new era. We are creating a new home worthy of our club, our fans and our community, and a celebration of our 112 years in South London.”
Palace stressed that the existing Main Stand would remain fully operational while work is being carried out, so the impact on the stadium’s capacity in the coming years will be minimised.
The new stand’s capacity will increase from around 5,400 to 13,500, with more than 10,700 general admission seats. Improved access will also be provided for disabled supporters, while Selhurst Park’s pitch will be expanded to make it compliant with Uefa regulations, deeming it eligible to host tournament football.
A new Tunnel Club will also be introduced, along with a club museum and community facilities. Supporters’ views from the Arthur Wait Stand will also be improved, while the upper Whitehorse Lane Boxes will be renovated into mixed bar/box use.
KSS director Nick Marshall said: “Our brief was to create an impressive sense of arrival and an experience the fans can be proud of, retaining the special atmosphere at one of the best grounds in the country.
“It’s already one of the best places to watch football and we certainly don’t want to ruin that, it has to be driven by the fan experience. There’s going to be a great relationship between the new stand and the Arthur Wait Stand, which is going to work fantastically. It’s a very exciting project and we are privileged to be working on it with Crystal Palace.”
Image: Crystal Palace