The emergence of residential units as a driving factor for stadium projects
More and more proposed stadium projects, whether they are redevelopments or new constructions, are including an urban redevelopment of the surrounding area in their plans. They often promise to be a catalyst for urban regeneration and include retail spaces, community facilities, offices and excellent access to public transport.
First of all, what are the benefits of adding residential units to stadium projects?
Creating additional property value
Excellent community facilities
Creating a year-round destination
However, residential units can also present challenges in terms of stadium operations. The fact that there are permanent residents in proximity to the stadium year-round influences normal operations as the stadium owner will have to make sure that the interests of fans and residents do not collide on the stadium site.
ESSMA interviewed Robert Schrama, Stadium Expert and Project Manager at the Stadium Consultancy, to get more insights on how they experienced the integration of residential units on the site of FC Groningen’s Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadium (a project that The Stadium Consultancy was closely involved in).
Mobility is certainly one of the most important challenges. You have residents who want to get to their apartments or houses easily and quickly, but at the same time (especially on matchdays) you can have an influx of fans and visitors who want to reach the stadium.
What are the most important challenges linked to the integration of residential units on the stadium site?
Mobility is certainly one of the most important challenges. You have residents who want to get to their apartments or houses easily and quickly, but at the same time (especially on matchdays) you can have an influx of fans and visitors who want to reach the stadium. It is a good idea to keep both streams of traffic separated as much as you can, with one access route leading to the stadium and another to the residences. This is certainly the case on matchdays but can also be important on non-match days for multifunctional stadiums as they will attract visitors year-round.
What would you say are the most important things to keep in mind for clubs who are considering integrating residential units?
The two most important things to keep in mind are mobility and a limited potential for large non-matchday events. First of all, in terms of events, you have to realise that certain regulations might limit your potential to organise large events (like concerts) on non-match days.
Secondly for mobility, it’s important to keep access routes to the stadium and to the residences separated and you could even keep that as a mindset for everything linked to operations. While there is a certain synergy between the stadium and the residences, both should be able to operate completely independently from each other.
Download ESSMA’s Stadium Development 2 2020 report on the ESSMA Knowledge Platform to read the full interview with Robert Schrama and learn more about the residential projects of Brentford FC, AFC Wimbledon, Luton Town FC, Excelsior Rotterdam and Southend United FC.