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Green light for Manchester City stadium upgrade

Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners have been granted permission for its $384 million expansion IMAGO/News Images via Reuters Connect
Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners have been granted permission for its $384 million expansion
  • Football club unveiled $384m expansion project in March
  • North Stand to be expanded by 7,700 people to accommodate 60,000 
  • Construction scheduled for completion by August 2025

Manchester City FC has won planning permission to expand and upgrade its stadium, meaning the $384 million project can get under way. 

The English footbal club is majority-owned by Abu Dhabi United Group.

It unveiled proposals earlier this year to increase the size of the Etihad Stadium’s North Stand by 7,700 people, to accommodate a total of 60,000.

Under the plans, it will also redevelop other parts of the site, including adding a 400-bed hotel and a fan zone for 3,000 supporters.

It will also add a new club shop, a museum, food and drink outlets, and a 4,000 square metre co-working space for local businesses. 

The revamped North Stand will feature a sky bar and a roof-walk experience, as part of the plans to create a “year-round entertainment and leisure destination at the Etihad Stadium”, the club said in March.

The project was designed by US-based architecture firm Populous. 

“We are delighted that Manchester City council’s planning committee has approved the club’s proposals for a best-in-class fan experience and year-round entertainment and leisure destination at the Etihad Stadium,” Danny Wilson, managing director of Manchester City operations, said.

“This development will not only enable the club to enhance and expand its offering to fans and visitors on both matchday and non-matchday, but it will also create lasting long term economic and social benefits for our local community, building on the regeneration work City Football Group has delivered in East Manchester since 2008.”

Manchester City was granted a basic planning permission to upgrade its North Stand in 2015, when its South Stand was expanded to increase the stadium’s capacity to 53,400.

But the finer details have been awaiting consent until the city’s planning committee gave unanimous sign-off to the plans on Thursday. 

The club said in March that construction would start towards the end of this year. Completion is scheduled for August 2025, in time for the 2025-2026 season.

The hotel is to be completed the following year. 

Local investment

Manchester City is owned by City Football Group, a UK-registered holding company whose majority stake is owned by Abu Dhabi United Group.

This is an investment company for the Abu Dhabi royal family owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 

The group purchased the club for £200 million in 2018 from former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Etihad Stadium is located in east Manchester. The area has historically suffered from deprivation and low levels of public and private investment.

Since 2008 City Football Group has overseen £700 million of investment into the area. This was centred on the 80-acre Etihad Campus in Manchester’s SportCity district, and its immediate surroundings known as Eastlands.