Agencia APP, the government body involved in a proposed new arena in Medellín, has said the project intends to draw more major entertainment and sports events to the Colombian city, and boost its status as a tourism destination.

First revealed last month, Arena Medellín is intended to be a 16,000-capacity facility on the site of the Estadio Cincuentenario sports fields. A privately-backed scheme, Agencia APP is involved through its role in managing and promoting public-private partnership (PPP) projects across the city.

Arena Medellín intends to address the current shortcomings that the city has in its venue infrastructure and provide a world-class facility. Juan Manuel Mejía Salazar, deputy director of management at Agencia APP, told TheStadiumBusiness.com: “It had been identified that the city required an arena like these years ago as most of the local artists are now becoming known worldwide and most of the international figures want to come to Medellín.

“Gladly we have a city with the greatest tourist potential in Latin America. Medellín is going to be capable now of hosting large shows, concerts, sports events, high-level congresses and assemblies, among others.”

Salazar added: “The project includes the development of events such as religious events, fairs, conferences, talks, conventions, MMA, boxing, freestyle motocross, skateboarding and monster truck shows.”

Salazar stated that, according to the project’s current schedule, the private investor behind Arena Medellín must present the project’s feasibility report in the last quarter of 2021. Evaluation of this report will run through to the first half of 2022, with a contract for the arena to be awarded by the end of next year.

With one year of pre-construction work and two years to complete the project, it is estimated that Arena Medellín will open its doors in 2025. While initial conceptual artwork has been released, Salazar explained that the private backer will bear responsibility for drawing up the final design.

Plans for Arena Medellín are being drawn up at the same time as a separate project comprising a major redevelopment of Estadio Atanasio Girardot. In October, it was revealed that Estadio Atanasio Girardot is set to undergo extensive redevelopment after a project was presented by Mayor Daniel Quintero.

The City of Medellín owns the stadium, which is part of a wider sports complex, and the facility houses Categoría Primera A football clubs Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín. The stadium has a current capacity of around 40,043 following renovations conducted for the city’s staging of the 2010 South American Games and hosting of games at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

APP Agencia is also involved in this project, and is currently conducting feasibility studies with a view to a contract for the redevelopment being awarded in November. The capacity of the stadium will be increased and its comfort levels enhanced, while it is set to feature an illuminated façade.

Photovoltaic panels will be installed on the roof to generate energy, while the new-look stadium will recycle rainwater for its own use. The work on Estadio Atanasio Girardot will utilise public funds.

Salazar added: “As it (Arena Medellín) is a PPP project, particularly a private initiative, the private originator is in charge of the final design, construction, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure.

“For its part, the Medellín Mayor’s Office, through Agencia APP, determines the essential criteria and specifications that the design must contemplate. Regarding the stadium, we are waiting for some approvals in order to be allowed to publish further information.”

Images: Agencia APP