In the west wing of the red and white house, there are two matters, beyond the sporting issues of Atlético de Madrid, that prevent them from hiding their smiles. One is the stadium, the Cívitas Metropolitano, just over six years old, whose investment of 330 million has been paid off in just five. Right now it would be generating double the income, around 100 kilos, that flowed from the much-loved Vicente Calderón stadium. Apart from football, events – a dozen in 2024: three concerts by Bruce Springsteen (June), two by Metallica (July), Estopa (June) or the Rugby 7 World Series – are an incomparable source of income, not only in Spain, but in much of the planet. The other issue, protagonist in the club’s Christmas meal speeches, is the City of Sport. A reality that will start to beat at the dawn of that stadium, to turn the northeast cornice of the capital into one of the main tourist and sporting attractions. And it will do so, if nothing goes wrong, from 2025 onwards.
Because, as El Mundo reports, in the first quarter of 2024 the projects for two of the five plots that will outline this mega sports complex will be tendered. That is, the two that have to do with Atlético’s commitment to the Madrid City Council. “That agreement has always been above everything; it was a priority,” they insistently underline from the club’s offices. Because, it should be remembered, the City Council has ceded three of these plots to the red and white entity for a period of 75 years. However, there are two that are still municipal property, but there is a commitment from the owners of the Cívitas Metropolitano to condition them for the enjoyment of the people of Madrid.
For days now, in the vicinity of that plot 1, there have been machines carrying out preliminary work on the land. That is, cleaning, clearing and levelling so that the ground is ready when the work is tendered. There will be built the athletics stadium, a long-standing neighbourhood demand, as a reminder of that Peineta that so often thought it would be the Olympic epicentre of the city. Two football fields, one for 7-a-side football, a service building and parking for this municipal sports centre will also be built, representing an investment of 11 million euros.
In that other corner that is about to get underway, there will be a municipal centre with four covered multi-sport courts, four paddle tennis courts, another building for services and more parking spaces, which will cost five million. The works will last for about 18 months and will be under the supervision of the City Council, specifically the Department of Works and Equipment. It is part of an investment that comes from Atlético’s pocket, which will allocate 133 million to the City of Sport, i.e., 70% of the 190 it received in 2022 from the CVC investment fund.
Of that figure, there are 25 million that have been in motion for weeks. You only have to pass by the M-40 to check it out. “We are generating improvements for the city, for all the neighbours. This project, which is already a reality, goes beyond football,” insist red and white sources, about the road access works, carried out by FCC, which were the first essential step to start. If there are no setbacks (especially climatic ones), they assure, they will all be finished before the end of the 23/24 season. That is, three months ahead of schedule. Of all of them, the most complex one is the one that affects the roundabout on Arcentales Avenue, which will become a vital tunnel for communications. If nothing goes wrong, it will be operational again at the end of January. But why were these dates chosen and not, for example, the summer? Well, according to Atlético, because of those five weeks without football at the Metropolitano (unless there is a Copa match) that loom on the red and white horizon. From the City Council there is some satisfaction because this action on the roads has not generated excessive chaos.
But let’s go back to the ground of the City of Sport. During this first quarter of 2024, the project for plot number three will also be tendered, the most important one for Atlético. Because there, on a surface of almost one million square metres, will be located the Atlético de Madrid High Performance Centre. There will be five training fields, a mini-stadium for 5,000 spectators – where the second team and the youth team will play -, a gym, a medical and rehabilitation centre, a media centre and more parking spaces. The final investment could end up around 50 million euros.
Throughout next year, one of the most exotic points (for now), located on the fourth plot, will be approved. According to the information this newspaper has had access to, the American giant Topgolf, a company specialising in recreational golf venues, will land there to install one of the main attractions of the project. It will also be the first one in Spain. A different concept of golf, to popularise the sport, in the style of a game of bowling. There will be almost a hundred outdoor positions, equipped with a system of video cameras and screens to monitor each shot. The complex will be topped off by several restaurants and music and leisure venues. There will also be sports areas for playing pickleball, a racquet sport that has gained thousands of followers. This Topgolf would be one of the eight that are currently planned in Spain.
A few metres away, on the same plot, the famous beach area. An artificial lagoon the size of two football fields, which will allow the practice of surfing, with more than 20 types of waves. A few days ago, emissaries from the red and white club visited the facilities in the English town of Bristol, where they have been enjoying this technology for some time. They do so despite the climatic conditions (and their usual rain), which have nothing to do with those in Madrid. A sustainable project, the result of collaboration with the companies Stoneweg and Teras Capital, will give birth to this innovative pseudo-Caribbean enclave. There you will also be able to practice beach volleyball and football. There will be a skatepark and zip line areas. Also points where you can enjoy skating, climbing or jumping. All this, along with a handful of dining spots.
“In the end, Madrid will have a beach,” they joke in the corridors of the Cívitas Metropolitano, where they are still trying to define the ideal profile of the fifth and last plot, with a longer execution period, where a university complex, a clinic, a hotel and, also, some dining, apart from, logically, a car park, could be built. The only condition for the project is that no houses were to be built. The company Cívitas, sponsor of the stadium, will be in charge of advising on sustainability. They could also be in charge of construction, but under competition.
The City of Sport, that dream that began to germinate in 2015, when the Metropolitano (then without a sponsor), was a handful of piles on an unstable sepiolite soil, is about to take off. “2024 will be the year of take-off,” they say satisfied from Atlético, convinced that, in just over a year, by 2025, everything will be running at full throttle.