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Barcelona lifts lid on Espai Barça plans

FC Barcelona has revealed more details on its wide-ranging Espai Barça project, which the LaLiga club feels has become “outdated” in financial terms since it was first approved in 2014.

Barcelona revealed yesterday (Monday) that the club has invested €145m (£122m/$169m) in the project since 2014 but has only completed five per cent of the work.

The project calls for a remodelling of Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, a new Palau Blaugrana arena, a Campus Barça development and a new MiniEstadi. So far, only the MiniEstadi has been completed with the opening of the Estadi Johan Cruyff in August 2019.

Barcelona said that Espai Barça has become outdated as it does not take into account the latest technology and sustainability initiatives necessary for the project to remain relevant. As a result, the club’s board of directors has opted to redefine the project, which will now avoid moving 12,500 season ticket holders from the first tier to the third tier while the Camp Nou is expanded.

The new vision is also designed to improve security, accessibility and comfort at the Camp Nou and the Palau Blaugrana, and ensure Campus Barça is a leader in sustainability. The project will also feature more VIP spaces and events to generate extra income.

Under the new plans, the first tier will not be modified, removing the need for season ticket holders to be relocated during the construction phase. A new third tier will provide greater accessibility and comfort and allow VIP areas to be concentrated rather than distributed across the stadium.

Members in the third tier will also benefit from a new covered roof, which will now include more elements to aid sustainability such as a geothermal heating and cooling system and 30,000 square metres of solar panels. A 360-degree screen will also feature in the interior of the stadium bowl.

The capacity of the Camp Nou will expand to 105,000 as a result of the project and it is hoped work will begin in the summer of 2022.

The new Palau Blaugrana will maintain a large part of its original design, although there are plans to increase its capacity from 10,000 to 15,000. The Campus Barça will also place more of an emphasis on green areas.

Barcelona detailed its fresh vision for the project yesterday after president Joan Laporta on Sunday chose to adjourn a meeting to discuss the financing of Espai Barça. The club’s board will now meet on Friday to discuss the matter, with the project’s budget having been set at €1.5bn.

Image: FC Barcelona