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Design & Development

Council gives green light to Etihad Stadium expansion project

Featured image credit: Manchester City FC

Manchester City has secured planning permission for its Etihad Stadium expansion project, a venture the English Premier League football club states will create a “best-in-class” fan experience and year-round entertainment and leisure destination.

The announcement yesterday (Thursday) evening came after the project was approved by Manchester City Council’s planning committee. It emerged last week that the committee had recommended that the scheme be granted the green light.

City conducted a fan and community consultation in February and March this year, subsequently submitting a planning application to the Council in April. The club released the first CGI renderings of the plans after concept designs were unveiled in February.

Approved proposals include several connected all-weather facilities, fully integrated into the stadium, centred around an expanded North Stand with one larger, single upper tier above the existing lower tier, increasing capacity from the current 53,400 to 61,968.

Above the upper tier there will be a sky bar with views overlooking the pitch as well as a stadium roof walk experience. A covered City Square fan zone, with capacity for 3,000 people and a wide variety of food and drink outlets, a new club shop, museum, workspace and a 400-bed hotel will also be constructed as part of the club’s development.

City said yesterday that it is anticipated that main construction works on the £300m (€350.1m/$383.4m) project will commence on-site in November, which will mean the North Stand itself will be complete and open during the 2025-26 football season. The hotel, workspace and public realm works, including City Square, would subsequently complete by late 2026.

Whilst the capacity of the second tier in the North Stand will be temporarily reduced during construction, Season Ticket Members and Cityzens Matchday Members with tickets in this area will not be impacted during the 2023-24 season.

Season Ticket Members in the second tier of the North Stand that will be impacted from the 2024-25 season onwards will be contacted directly in advance of any works taking place to discuss temporary seat relocation options.

Danny Wilson, managing director of Manchester City Operations, said: “We are delighted that Manchester City Council’s planning committee has approved the club’s proposals for a best-in-class fan experience and year-round entertainment and leisure destination at the Etihad Stadium.

“This development will not only enable the club to enhance and expand its offering to fans and visitors on both matchday and non-matchday, but it will also create lasting long-term economic and social benefits for our local community, building on the regeneration work City Football Group has delivered in East Manchester since 2008.”

Following City’s consultation process, which took place between February 28 and March 26, the proposal was updated to include the sky bar and stadium roof walk experience.

The North Stand is currently the only remaining Etihad Stadium stand with two tiers, following the addition of 6,000 extra seats and a third tier to the South Stand ahead of the 2015-16 season. TheStadiumBusiness.com reported in August that City had commenced exploratory work on expanding the North Stand.

City has played at the Etihad Stadium since 2003, with the facility having been built initially for Manchester’s staging of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The opening date for Co-op Live, a new 23,500-capacity arena under construction at Etihad Campus, was last month pushed back to April 2024.

Co-op Live is a joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group, with the Jonas Brothers yesterday confirmed as one of the artists that will perform during its opening season.