Since taking up residence in the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, our owners have sought to contribute to the redevelopment of the area.
Manchester City moved to what is now the Etihad Stadium back in 2003 to be part of what was envisaged as a Sport City complex. Since the investment in our club by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, the area around the Stadium is almost unrecognisable.
Right now, there are a series of proposed changes to the existing area development strategy which have now been issued to relevant parties as part of a structured phase of consultation. Should this plan be endorsed there will be further significant changes to the area around our stadium.
The proposals are seeking to achieve a series of different outcomes – to bring employment opportunities, to bring urban redevelopment, to create a focus of leisure and tourism and to establish a centre of sporting excellence supported by it’s own eco system.
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As any visitors to the Etihad Stadium will know, the surrounding area has few facilities to support significant crowds. The new proposals seek to change this by creating a sustainable local industry.
The plan has a new indoor Music arena to be located to the North of our Stadium. This would have a capacity of over 20000 and would be linked to the Etihad campus by a series of bars, restaurants, hotels and shops – much like the area around the NEC in Birmingham.
Other development would build upon the CFA, Etihad Stadium, British Cycling, Tennis Centre and Squash Centre who are all currently located on site. Attracting further Sports is already ongoing with British Rugby League moving their headquarters into the site and with the building of a new Sports University complex.
Creating a national centre of sporting excellence will establish the creation of a local infrastructure to support this, which in turn will bring further relocations and investment.
Linking this site to the City centre through replanned green cycling and walking routes, increased residential development and improved car parking facilities all sound really admirable.
In fact the only thing missing from the plans as a City fan is a commitment to improve the local transport network which tends to creak already under the strain. Still at least we will be able to eat a meal in a restaurant whilst waiting for the traffic to clear after a match!
Although not specifically tied into this ongoing consultation, there are firm plans in place to continue the improvement of the Etihad Stadium. Existing planning permission remains to redevelop the current North Stand into a 3 tiered stand to mirror the South Stand, bringing total capacity up to 62000.
These plans have been on hold pending further decisions. City have been exploring a change to the proposed design which would see an expanded second tier on the North Stand rather than a third tier.
This idea is contingent upon the introduction of safe standing. According to our Chairman, this plan is currently going through design and consultation phases. The first stage of it appears to be the relocation of the family stand into Tier 2 of the North Stand from the 2020/21 season.
The introduction of safe standing could lead to an increase in capacity on it’s own, as it would be expected to be operated in tier 1 behind both goals.
As City fans there continues to be much to look forward to in the coming years, both on and off the pitch.