‘The Crusaders’ Green goals for rejig home



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Chile new stadium for Universidad Católica Image: IDOM

Club Deportivo Universidad Católica is a professional football club based in Santiago, Chile (country in South America) which plays in the Primera División, the top flight of Chilean football. Universidad Católica is one of the most successful and popular Chilean football clubs and considered one of Chile’s ‘Big Three’. The club’s home arena is the 14,118-capacity Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo and the football stadium sits in Las Condes in the metropolitan region of Santiago de Chile.

Juan Pablo Pareja, General Manager, Universidad Católica, Chile, provides insightful information exclusively to ‘Coliseum’ as regards plans to totally transform ‘The Crusaders’ residence and make it into a multipurpose show business venue – the most advanced venue in Chile and Latin America.

Juan Pablo Pareja informed that plans to revamp the stadium started in the year 2017. ‘The Crusaders’ present home venue was built in the year 1988 and holds on an average 25 big-ticket events in a year.

He made it clear that the new project being planned to overhaul the top-flight’s facility is not just to build a massive and spiffy facility to flaunt to the world, but the core objective goes much beyond that.
 

Twin objectives:

  • The club aspires to be leaders in sports management in Chile; and
  • Modify the present venue to the most avant-garde and advanced sports infrastructure in Chile.

 

Focal points:

  • Impetus will be given on the arena design and assisting the club in this task will be the Spanish architecture giant IDOM and the well-known Canada-based engineering firm WSP;
  • To transform it into a business venue so that it sends the cash registers jingling;
  • Pages will be taken out from venues in the United States and Europe as far as premium facilities are concerned; and
  • All efforts will be consolidated towards creating more revenue streams so that investors get motivated to invest in the project.

 

Challenges:

  • Getting permits is the most challenging task in Chile as the norms regarding construction policies is quite “tough” in the country;
  • Another challenge is the financing angle. Will the stadium price tag commensurate with the team earnings? Additional sources of revenue will have to be found.

 

Project objectives:

  • To make it the most chic stadium in Latin America so that it sets a benchmark for others to follow;
  • It is not just going to be a sports venue but a multipurpose facility;
  • Topmost priority will be given to the spectators’ safety angle in a COVID-ravaged world;
  • All spaces of the revamped venue including the media and broadcast space will be lent a futuristic touch and attention will be given to small details;
  • Spectators will enjoy better sightlines;
  • International events will be held in the arena;
  • Sustainability to be key mantra of the revamped venue; and
  • Revamped venue should become the site of the Pan American Games to be held in Santiago in 2023 and should also be in a position to hold major international events for which “proposals are already pouring in”.

 
Pareja added that since the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is the continental body of football in South America, the venue will have to meet the CONMEBOL standards.

He stated, “We want the new building to set an architectural milestone so that the City of Santiago is known by the stadium. The stadium should also augur development for the area and help in the advancement of the community on which it sits.”

The venue will offer the best in acoustics and as per global standards and the network will be totally streamlined.

The top shot further informed that Chile boasts a very “robust” public consultation process and the residents’ opinions as part of the above exercise will be given topmost priority “as we do not want the whole development project to start with a sulking neighborhood”.

To accomplish the above objectives, cream of the crop stakeholders have been picked up with IDOM to develop the project and the leading engineering firm WSP has also been brought on board – the company responsible for building iconic structures and stadia in the European market as well as in the North American market.
 

Location

The rehabilitated venue will sit in the lap of Nature surrounded by hills and the venue is not just meant for sporting events but corporate houses too will be able to hold their events in the facility and community-related events too will be held.
 

Venue capacity

  • 20,000 planned.

 
Remarked Pareja, “We are going to set up a second set of bleachers and it will be covered to enhance the comfort quotient for spectators. We will ensure that the stadium leaves zero carbon footprints and protects the interests of the community on which it will sit. It will be established as a mixed-use venue so that visitors can come in seven days a week and let their hair down.”

A boulevard will be set up so that any guests entering the stadium precincts can soak in a 360 degree view of the facility. Adding more bells and whistles to the stadium will help to rake in the moolah and as Pareja affirmed, “The venue will be an architectural marvel”.

Added Pareja, “The venue will be so built that it becomes a talking point in Latin America and since it will be a multiuse venue, each event will have its own distinct flavor.”

He informed that the present structure is four-storied and a fifth story will be added as part of the redecoration plans. This space will enjoy premium facilities and fans can come and hang out in this area not just on Sundays and on matchdays but also during the weekdays. The fifth floor will protect fans from the weather elements and the acoustic prowess and luminous effect will be something to write home about. Corporates can also use this space and it will come armed with the best of facilities and offerings “so that people do not have to go to downtown and they can enjoy to the hilt in this new space of the stadium. For the VIP guests, more box seats, corporate suites and sleek hospitality areas will come up”.
 

Sustainability strategy

  • Installation of 400 photovoltaic panels which will allow to generate enough luminosity;
  • Bioclimatic design elements will help to save on electricity and so will LED lights;
  • Waste water recycling plant;
  • Streamlined communication network so that people do not have to use their personal vehicles and this will help in reducing carbon footprints;
  • Wood instead of concrete materials will be used in the structure;
  • Parking lot for bicycles; and
  • Recharge space for electric vehicles and bicycles to encourage the use of electric cars rather than ones which run on gasoline and harms the environment.

 
The repurposed arena of ‘The Crusaders’ will offer smooth Wi-Fi facilities sans buffering problems and the venue will be a cashless one as ‘touchless and contactless’ is the catchword in a world battered by coronavirus.

Pareja concluded by informing that in the year 2017, feasibility study was carried out as regards sprucing up the venue totally and it was in 2021 that “We got permits from the Government and now we are focusing on the naming rights aspect so that we can begin construction work in early 2022. If the project runs for 18 months we will be able to have the stadium up and running to stage few sports disciplines of the Pan American Games to be held in Santiago (capital of Chile) in October of 2023.”

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