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Barcelona ‘to reduce’ budget for Espai Barça project

Featured image credit: Espai Barça

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that the Spanish LaLiga football club is planning on reducing its investment in the wide-ranging Espai Barça project from €1.1bn (£945m/$1.2bn) to €960m.

The transformation of Barcelona’s Spotify Camp Nou is central to Espai Barça, with a new Palau Blaugrana arena to also be built for the club’s handball and basketball teams. Espai Barça also includes the Campus Barça development.

Barcelona will spend the 2023-24 season at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys while the Camp Nou is renovated. In May, work officially started in earnest on the revamp of Camp Nou, with the capacity of the stadium increasing from 98,000 to 105,000. The venue will also be fully covered by a roof.

In April, Barcelona finalised €1.45bn of financing to complete the Espai Barça project, including the remodelling of the Camp Nou. In March, London-based WOO Architects was appointed by Turkish company Limak Construction to support the redevelopment.

The redevelopment of Camp Nou will cost a reported €960m. There have been suggestions that the cost of the new Palau Blaugrana will reach €200m but Laporta believes this will not be the case.

In an interview with La Vanguardia, Laporta said: “I think we are going to reduce the budget for the stadium and for contingencies; in fact, it is already happening. We are very much on top of being able to cut the €1.1bn that was said. I think we are going to be at €960m and maybe at €930m if all goes well.

“And I think the Palau will not reach €200m. I say this because it must be taken into account that we signed flexible interest rates in some sections of the operation. This means that we can change those interests depending on whether the market gives us better prices.”

Barcelona is scheduled to spend the entire 2023-24 season at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. The club will seek to return to Camp Nou during the 2024-25 season, when the stadium will operate with a restricted capacity of 66,000 across the first two tiers.

Laporta said there will be economic consequences if Limak does not complete the initial phase of Camp Nou work on time. “The strongest (consequence) will be (an extra) €1m per day,” he said. “But it won’t happen. They work at a very good pace and always meet the deadlines of their work. It is one of their strengths.”