“Regarding the current Camp de Mestalla, one thing must be made clear. The land already had a value before the ATE, what the ATE does is provide extra buildability, around 20,000 meters below ground level for commercial use, valued at around 15 or 16 million euros in the last appraisal. This, extrapolated to the costs of the future stadium, represents around 5% or 6%.” This is how the new corporate director and spokesperson for Valencia CF, Javier Solís, has spoken, trying to minimize the privileges that the administrations, both the City Council and the Generalitat, have granted the club to help it finance the works on the new stadium and therefore to try to subtract arguments to the current demands of the Consistory for its completion.
However, what Solís commented is only a small part of the five great urban favors that the club has obtained and that translated into euros mean much more than what they say. Specifically, taking into account the current average price per square meter of new housing in Valencia, which according to the Association of Real Estate Agents (API) is 1,884 euros (certainly higher in the area of Avenida de Aragón), and adding the value of the tertiary, the administrations contribute in urban benefits around 200 million euros to the financing of the coliseum.
To understand this figure and the current situation of the cement skeleton located on the avenue of the Cortes Valencianas, we must go back to the year 2004, in which Valencia CF had just played two Champions League finals, won two leagues, one European League and the European Super Cup.
In October 2004, Juan Soler took over 70% of the club’s shares and assumed the presidency in place of Jaume Ortí. The then mayor of València, Rita Barberá, who was present at the two Champions League finals, insisted that the city one day host a final of this competition, the most important in the world of football, but the fundamental thing was missing: a stadium Five stars that met all the requirements.
The new president of Valencia CF agreed that same year (2004) with the Generalitat Valenciana de Francisco Camps and the City Council of Barberá an urban development operation with the aim of requalifying the old Mestalla to build homes in its place. With the sale of the coliseum, the construction of a new stadium would be financed and a large part of the debt accumulated by the club, some 130 million euros at that time, would be settled.
Initially, a protocol of intent was signed between the club, the Generalitat and the City Council by which the public ownership of the land of the new stadium was maintained. However, Soler did not see it clearly and finally the swap formula was agreed by which the City Council exchanged its plot valued at 45 million euros for another 33 that the club had to buy in different parts of the city and for 20 million euros to be paid to the municipal corporation, of which 16.8 million have already been paid.
Together with the swap, a highly advantageous urban reclassification for the club was approved with the aim that Valencia CF could build the long-awaited stadium and clean up its accounts. And later the Strategic Territorial Action (ATE) was approved to give even more financing to the club.
The works began on August 1, 2007 without the plots of the old Mestalla having been sold, despite the fact that at that time Soler himself spoke of offers of up to 400 million euros. The wait for an even higher offer took its toll with the outbreak of the real estate crisis that was the last straw for the urban development hit. On February 25, 2009, the year in which the stadium was to be completed, the machines stopped working after an investment of 150 million, with Vicente Soriano as president of the club and, since then, no leader (Llorente, Amadeo Salvo and the tycoon Peter Lim) has managed to restart the works.
These are the five urban aids granted to Valencia CF by the administrations.
1- Requalification of land from sports use to residential/tertiary use: this is the first great favor that the City Council does to the club to finance the works of the new stadium. From a plot of land for sports use on Avenida de Aragón for which the club was entitled to 37,500 square meters of sports facilities plus a 6,900 square meter block of tertiary, the Consistory requalifies the land for residential use, with a much higher value .
2- Increase in building coefficients: the City Council increased the building coefficients taking as a reference the tallest buildings around the stadium and finally the Integrated Action Program (PAI) of Mestalla is approved with a building capacity of 75,900 square meters of residential (143 million euros at the average price current square meter) and 13,500 tertiary, totaling 89,400 square meters.
3 – The ATE, another 35,000 square meters of tertiary: the Valencian Government processed the Strategic Territorial Action (ATE) between the years 2012 and 2015 by which the club is granted another 35,000 extra square meters (not 20,000 as Solís affirms) of tertiary land below ground in the plot of the Aragón avenue . The club values this land between 15 and 20 million euros.
4 – Possibility of removing the tertiary from the ground floor of the new stadium: In addition, to improve financing possibilities, by virtue of the ATE, the club is granted the possibility of removing 41,700 square meters of tertiary from the ground floor of the new stadium and configuring it in two buildings adjoining the stadium (something that Solís does not mention either), in principle one for hotel use and the other for offices, which makes it possible to monetize that land that previously lacked value on which two towers will be located, with a value of between 15 and 20 million more.
5 – Reduction of parking spaces: The initial agreement for the new stadium included a provision of 3,450 parking spaces in the basement of the coliseum. However, the ATE eliminates this obligation and establishes a reservation of parking spaces linked to the square meters of tertiary, which implies a significant reduction in spaces, up to about 500, with the cost savings that this entails for the club.