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Developer discusses Workers’ Stadium revamp ahead of reopening

Featured image credit: TurnOnTheNight/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

More details have emerged on the revamped Workers’ Stadium in Beijing, with the developer behind the project hoping the new-look facility will become a year-round destination capable of hosting sport and entertainment events.

The stadium, which had a capacity of 66,000 before being demolished in August 2020, served as the main venue for the 1990 edition of the Asian Games multi-sport event. The old stadium hosted major music concerts and football matches, as well as fixtures during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

In an interview with The Beijinger, Jin Fei, vice-general manager at Zhōnghé Gōngti, which is behind the stadium revamp, said the new-look venue will feature more than 100,000 square metres of commercial facilities. The stadium, also known locally as Gongti, is scheduled to reopen in December.

The new stadium will not feature a running track, while a new underground plaza has been added for sports fans. Traffic congestion around the Workers’ Stadium is also set to be eased, with a train station to provide a direct connection to the venue.

Discussing the underground plaza, Fei told The Beijinger: “In the northeast corner of the stadium lies a giant sunken commercial space which we hope will eventually become one of the most popular places in Sanlitun. It will be comprised of restaurants, fashion, and retail stores.

“It would be fair to say that the new Workers’ Stadium will not only become a place where people can watch soccer matches, but also one of the most vibrant entertainment venues in Beijing, one that is on par with Taikoo Li or Parkview Green.”

Fei said that fences surrounding the stadium have been removed, with the site having been transformed into an open park for activities such as skateboarding, basketball and frisbee.

He added: “When fans walk into the stadium, they’ll be able to notice a movable stand in the south area of the stadium. These stands are designed in such a way that they are able to stretch and move around for future concert needs.

“Right now we’ve been working out the specifics to ensure that the stage will not damage the turf. We have certainly taken fans’ suggestions into consideration and yes, the new Gongti will be able to host concerts. It could possibly even host events like motorcycle sports, fashion shows, and ice hockey games during winter in the future.”

The Workers’ Stadium had been scheduled to stage matches at next year’s Asian Cup football tournament, but China withdrew from hosting the event amid the continuing challenges created by its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qatar was announced as the new host last week.

The Workers’ Stadium was built in 1959 and served as one of the ‘Ten Great Buildings’ constructed in Beijing to coincide with the 10th anniversary of communist China.