December 21 – Barcelona can’t afford players to keep their playing squad competitive in European competition, but that hasn’t stopped the association’s members mandating the board to raise up to €1.5 billion to pay for the Espai Barça project.
Voting online on Sunday, 48,623 of Barca’s socios green lighted the financial plan for the five-year infrastructure project. It was a resounding 87.8% votes in support of the motion.
Finance for the project is in negotiation with Goldman Sachs who will securitise the project loan against the infrastructure with repayment of the loan to take place over 35 years, but not starting until five years’ time when the development should be complete, open and generating revenue.
Originally proposed in 2014, the Espai Barça project was originally costed at €600 million. Seven years later the costs have more than doubled and the club have left those serial domestic and European championship winning days behind them – at least for the time being.
The 2021 project is certainly more expansive than the 2014 version.
The renovation of the Camp Nou will cost about €900 million while the cost of the Palau Blaugrana, a new arena for Barcelona’s other professional sports teams, will cost €90 million. The urban regeneration of the buildings around the complex is estimated at about €100 millions, while another €60 million will be spent on local infrastructure, including transport.
Construction is planned to start in the summer of 2022 with the first work on the Camp Nou. Finish date for the 105,000-capacity stadium is scheduled for the last quarter of the year 2025.
The Palau Blaugrana will be a two year build beginning in 2024 and in 2026 while other work around the ‘campus’ – offices, hotel, urban regeneration – will start in 2025 and complete by the end of 2027.
The Camp Nou construction work will see the stadium partially closed with an option in the 2023-24 season to move some games to the Olympic Stadium.
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