Arena de Valencia, one of the largest construction projects in recent history, is slowly rising from the ground thanks to a single man´s funding
Arena Valencia, a massive, multimillion-euro sporting complex announced in the midst of Pandemic, sounded far too big to happen in the near future, as did many other publicised City projects that never saw the light of day. The Valencian press was enthusiastic about the project’s launch, publishing hundreds of articles, and then almost everyone forgot about it. Exactly a year later, despite all of the problems encountered in the previous twelve months, this building is slowly emerging from the ground, with a projected completion date of 2023.
It is a one-of-a-kind project in that it is entirely funded by an individual, Juan Roig, a 72-year-old Valencian businessman, director of Mercadona, and the richest man in the Valencian Community. Juan Roig, the son of a butcher from Pobla de Farnals, wanted to repay his beloved Valencia for the privilege of living and doing business here, and Arena Valencia is his vision of how to do so.
For an individual, it is a vision of monumental proportions. The total investment is expected to be in the region of €220 million, and the new Valencia Basketball Club headquarters will become the country’s third largest indoor venue (after Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, and Palacio de Deportes in Madrid). It will also be the most modern in the country, with a size that is double that of the current Valencia court.
Arena Valencia will be built on a 21,500 square metre plot and will be able to accommodate 15,600 spectators for sporting events and 18,600 people for any future concerts held at the Arena. The complex will have an underground car park with approximately 1300 spaces, restaurants, a new headquarters for Valencia Basketball Club, numerous multipurpose rooms, outside seating areas, and much more. And, as expected, the facility will be outfitted with the latest technology and cutting-edge equipment for broadcasting and monitoring all types of shows.
The Arena, unlike many other projects of this type, was planned and decided on in record time. Only three years ago, Valencia Basketball Club approached the City Council for the first time, requesting a concession on a plot between the streets of Angel Villena, Bomber Ramon Duart, and Antonio Ferrandis.
That space was previously designated for a failed project called the Music Tower, that would have housed the Valencia branch of the Berklee College of Music, which instead chose the City of Sciences. The negotiations took some time because the Ayuntamiento was not in favour of monumental projects that could also fail colossally (there are quite a few of them in the City already), but an agreement was reached in the end because there was no cost to the city, and, after all, behind this project was one of Valencia’s most successful businessmen, Juan Roig.
It was estimated that the project would require at least 50 years to become economically viable, so the concession was granted for that time period, after which the Arena de Valencia will become the City’s property. The City Council will receive approximately €10 million in concession fees over the next 50 years.
The Arena’s construction began at the end of June last year, and it is expected to open in 2023. Juan Roig’s company, Licampa 1617 SL, is in charge of the project, which is divided into three phases. The first phase, in which the entire land was excavated and the foundation was laid, is now complete, and this summer, as part of phase 2, work on the structure will begin.
Despite the fact that many projects have recently begun in Valencia, nothing like this has been built in the city for a long time, with the exception of a new terminal in Valencia Port. Aside from a significant investment in the construction industry and the creation of 300 new jobs, once completed, Arena Valencia will be another important landmark in Valencia, a modern venue with a large capacity and the ability to host previously unthinkable events. Not only will there be concerts, but there will also be future sporting championships and other major events.
What’s also intriguing is that this project is entirely funded by one man – Juan Roig. His fortune is estimated to be worth more than €4 billion, so maybe €200 million isn’t much for someone like this. But he isn’t the only billionaire in the world, and projects like this don’t come along very often, if at all.