French football club Red Star FC of Paris has officially unveiled the redevelopment project for its Stade Bauer that will transform the historic stadium into an English-style venue, while also introducing an innovative mixed-use facility.

Red Star, France’s third oldest professional football club, was one of the founding members of Ligue 1. It has spent 19 seasons in France’s top division, but last played at the highest level in 1974-75. The redevelopment of Stade Bauer is part of long-term plans to return to the top flight, and has been the subject of much debate in recent years.

In October, Red Star formally abandoned plans for a new stadium to instead opt for a renovation along with partner Réalités Group. The previous June, French development group Réalités won a contract to build a new multi-purpose stadium that would serve as Red Star’s home, but then-Mayor William Delannoy announced in November 2019 that the land earmarked for the project would not be sold.

Instead, a multi-phase redevelopment is now the plan with the finished stadium intended to become a gathering place for the Saint-Ouen district that has been Red Star’s home since 1909. The redevelopment of the stadium will take place between 2022 and 2024, with the eye-catching ‘Bauer Box’ element ready in 2025.

In 2024, the Bauer is intended to be able to host 10,000 fans at a standard suitable for both Ligue 2 and Ligue 1. Red Star will continue to play games whilst work takes place on-site, with “English-style architecture” introduced that will keep fans close to the pitch.

The stadium work is projected to cost €35m (£30m/$41.5m), with a further €30m assigned for the Bauer Box. A real estate complex of 30,000m², the Bauer Box will combine collaborative workspaces, offices, shops, health services and entertainment.

The new Stade Bauer will also create a green space with more than 2,000m² of green roof terraces and 600m² of green spaces in the grounds. The ecological commitment of the project will see the reuse of materials from the old stadium.

Patrice Haddad, president of Red Star, said“The new Bauer is fundamental for our development and a priority in our 2024 roadmap. The new stadium will allow us to grow and shine. The club’s vocation is to celebrate football that is close to the people, to welcome as many people as possible, to be the locomotive of a growing territory. This is perfectly consistent with the new Bauer.”

Karim Bouamarane, Mayor of Saint-Ouen, added: “Our ambition, with this renovation, is to open up the Bauer so that it becomes a friendly and energising place for the neighbourhood. It will also be a great place for the attractiveness of our city in connection with the nearby flea markets. Finally, it is part of a journey that will lead everyone to the Seine.”

However, the project has not won universal approval. Red Star Bauer, a fans group, has decided to exit the project’s steering committee due to several objections, including the plan to create a restaurant with panoramic views of the pitch that would be located just above the north stand.

“We saw the plans and we no longer recognise them,” said Red Star Bauer president, Vincent Chutet-Mezence, according to the FranceBleu website. “For me, it’s the BNP Paribas Stadium of a corporate football club that is nestled in the middle of La Défense, for me it’s not the Stade Bauer. We’re just making it a marketing product.”

Commenting on the restaurant plan, he added: “We are not at the zoo! Even the Qataris (owners of Paris Saint-Germain) would not do that at the Parc des Princes!”

Images: Realites/Red Star FC