English Premier League football club Crystal Palace has announced ambitious plans to redevelop its Selhurst Park stadium.
Club chairman Steve Parish unveiled the project at a press conference yesterday (4 December), in which sports architects KSS were revealed as the practice tasked with overhauling a stadium which has been Palace's home since 1924. The firm has previously redeveloped sports facilities including Anfield, Twickenham and Wimbledon.
The project, expected to cost between £75m to £100m, will increase the capacity at Selhurst Park from 26,000 to more than 34,000,
The centrepiece will be a new five-storey stand featuring an all-glass front - a homage to the club's earliest days when it stood in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace exhibition hall, designed by Joseph Paxton and opened in Hyde Park in 1851.
A central vaulted arch, with the club's famous Eagle crest, will also reference Paxton's pioneering building, while eagle wings will flank the structure.
Capacity in the new stand will increase from around 5,400 to 13,500 and a new roof will be added to funnel sound down to the pitch and the Arthur Wait Stand opposite, which is also being expanded.
Other improvements will include a substantial increase in wheelchair spaces, a bigger pitch to make Selhurst Park compliant with UEFA regulations and eligible to host tournament football, and premium hospitality and entertainment facilities.
Parish also wants to build a new club museum, a home for its charitable foundation and a 'Tunnel Club' in which private members can watch players prepare for the match in the tunnel and conduct post-match interviews.
KSS's plans will be submitted to Croydon Council in January and, subject to planning permission being granted, work could begin in the next 12 months. The project is likely to take up to three years to complete.
Nick Marshall, director of KSS, said: "Our brief was to create an impressive sense of arrival and an experience the fans can be proud of, retaining the special atmosphere at one of the best grounds in the country.
"It's already one of the best places to watch football and we certainly don't want to ruin that - it has to be driven by the fan experience.
"There's going to be a great relationship between the new stand and the Arthur Wait stand, which is going to work fantastically."
The ground will remain in full operational use throughout the build process, minimising the impact on the stadium capacity in the coming seasons. This approach was previously used by the architects when revamping the Main Stand at Liverpool FC's Anfield stadium.
"We need a stadium that reflects who we are, how far we have come and where we want to go - a stadium South London can be proud of, a home worthy of our incredible support and unique atmosphere and this great Premier League we represent," said Parish.
"We've worked long and hard and looked at several options over the years, including returning to the original site of Crystal Palace, which wasn't viable. While we can't go back to it, we can build a new one."
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