the specter of cost overruns hovers over the exile in Montjuïc

BarcelonaMontjuïc is already preparing for the arrival of Barça this summer. Adaptation works at the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium have begun with the change of the drainage system, the irrigation and the water treatment of the playing field. They are the first works in a long list. Until the men’s first team plays its first home game of the 2023-24 season, the dressing rooms,hospitality (currently, Montjuïc does not have VIP boxes) and the space for the press, in addition to improving access. All in all, Barça anticipates that it will cost around 20 million euros. But there are sources from the club who have expressed to the ARA concern that the number could increase. Especially taking into account that the Barcelona City Council will make Barça pay in full for the works on the stadium and a significant part of those that will be carried out in the surrounding area.

The improvement of access to the Olympic mountain has a budgeted cost of 7.2 million, of which Barça will take care of 64% (4.61 million) and the City Council the remaining 36% (2.59 million). The municipality will only pay for the performances that will remain in the area once the Barcelona club returns to Camp Nou. Some of the novelties will be to install bus shuttles on match days, strengthen the funicular services and, if necessary for the time of the match, extend the operation of the metro. On the other hand, a cycle path will be built, three new Bicing stations will be installed and the lighting of the paths of Montjuïc will be improved, among other measures. “This type of work, both inside and outside the stadium, usually ends up costing more than what was initially anticipated. So it is quite likely that they will climb beyond the 20 million”, they explain from the offices of Arístides Maillol.

The actions to have all this finished in the summer are already underway and Barça must assume the cost because they are not included in the agreement for the financing of the Espai Barça that is being worked on with the Americans Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Thus, as this newspaper has learned, the club has had to request an advance on a bank policy to be able to face them.

The date of the municipal elections, in red

On the horizon there is a date marked in red in the Barça offices: the municipal elections on May 28. Those responsible for the club are aware that, depending on who the winner is, the Espai Barça project may encounter more or less obstacles. And the executive president, Joan Laporta, is on the verge of inaugurating the new Camp Nou before the end of his mandate, in 2026. “Depending on who wins, things can speed up or slow down. And, in the worst case, pull back. That’s why it’s better that Xavier Trias wins, even though we’re currently pretty much on track with Ada Colau”, they explain from the organization.

On the other hand, things were not so easy when Barcelona En Comú came to the mayor’s office in 2015. “Everything had already been agreed with the City Council (until then presided over by Trias) and the change of government caused that I would have to redo everything”, explains an Espai Barça official at the time to ARA. In the medium term, the most dangerous scenario for the Culer entity – and, at the moment, improbable – is that it arrives in May without still having the approval of the City Council to modify the license to incorporate the changes that the Laporta’s board has made the Camp Nou remodeling project with respect to the design of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s. City Council sources inform ARA that “it is still being worked on”.

Once the construction company that will carry out the remodeling of the Camp Nou, the Turkish Limak Construction, has been chosen, Barça still have steps to take before they can start doing the bulk of the work from June. Having the approval of the modification of the license from the City Council is one thing, but it will also be necessary to have an agreement with Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to finance the works. The difficult financial situation of the club makes it impossible for them to start without having this credit.

The City Council subsidizes 35% of Bartomeu’s license tax

Laporta’s board still does not have the approval of the City Council regarding the changes made in the Camp Nou remodeling project since he began his second term as president of the Barcelona club. Instead, this Tuesday the council approved a 35% bonus on the construction, installation and works tax quota generated by the granting of the license on April 28, 2022. That is, that of project as it was left by the board of directors of Josep Maria Bartomeu. It is a common move by the City Council when it comes to facilities of special interest or municipal utility.



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