Fluminense is getting closer and closer to starting the revitalization works of the Laranjeiras headquarters and the Manuel Schwarz Stadium. Since the announcement of the partnership with an architectural firm to commit to the renovations, fans have raised questions on social media about various aspects of the project. In this sense, the Lancenet portal sought to clarify all of them. The venue will initially have a capacity for approximately 7,000 people.
The work will be funded only with money from the State Cultural Incentive Law through the sponsor Tim. The changing rooms will be modernized, the stands facing Cristo Redentor, currently very steep, need to be remodeled and the idea is that the lawn is synthetic. There has already been a meeting with the companies that make the field at Allianz Parque and Arena da Baixada to talk about the matter.
As Fluminense does not yet have the CND (Debt Clearance Certificate), which is in the process of obtaining, the club already has a long-term partnership with IDEC (Institute for the Development of Sport and Culture) for projects aimed at Olympic sports. The institute will also help in this part to be able to make the incentivized project viable. In addition, it is important to note that, in terms of stadium earnings, in addition to the box office for the games, there is the idea of having concerts (using the stands and the lawn), in addition to the sale of naming rights and other future possibilities.
While the reform is taking place, the youth and female categories, who currently play in Laranjeiras, can play in Xerém. CT Vale das Laranjeiras has already adapted the field and there is even a structure for TV broadcasting. It still doesn’t have reflectors for matches at night, as well as at the headquarters, but CBF and Ferj have already authorized games to be held there. See below for other points.
On January 29, 2019, Fluminense released details of the work carried out by Encopetro Engenharia Estrutural, which was contracted with the aim of providing feasibility for the revitalization of Estádio das Laranjeiras. The objective was to evaluate the structural security for the audience capacity that the stands (social and popular) can support.
In addition, there were technical consultations with bodies such as IPHAN (Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional) and INEPAC (State Institute for Cultural Heritage) to understand the details of the listing. Later, conversations started with Tim for the culture incentive project.
The last process was the choice of the architectural firm which will be further explained below. The Apiacás office presented the best technical and price conditions, that is, the lowest value within the established limit. The company was founded in 2000 and is directed by the architects Anderson Freitas, Pedro Barros and Acácia Furuya. The office develops projects in the institutional, residential and commercial areas for the public and private sectors, as the official website says.
As it will be an incentivized project, the club needs to complete it in the shortest possible time and already has established deadlines. In the next 90 days, it expects the delivery of the stadium project. After that, you have another 90 days for the other areas of the headquarters. Regarding the beginning of the works, if the Flu had all the money in cash, it could start immediately at the end of these deadlines. As it depends on Tim not to affect the cash flow, the club hopes to go to the market to budget with engineering companies and do a process similar to that of the architecture office.
Nothing prevents Fluminense from complementing it with other sponsors directly or from the club’s cash, but the idea is to play only as an incentivized project.
WHY ORANGE TREES?
One of the questions generated by the choice of renovation is: why not make another stadium bigger, as Flamengo plans and comes in talks to do so? It is understood that the club, which currently has limited resources, has today the priority of finishing the CT Carlos Castilho, which remains unfinished, in addition to the renovations in Xerém. There is also the dispute over the Maracanã bid and the understanding that the construction involves a value far above what can be afforded today.
At the end of 2019, when the current management took over the club, Maracanã still had a distant relationship with Fluminense, who started to manage the stadium for the first time in April of that year. If today the contact is more direct and the relationship is well established between Tricolor and Flamengo, in the past, even because of the initial debt with the stadium (which no longer exists), there was a distance.
It would not make sense, in the internal view, to build a new stadium with Maracanã and still with the possibility of revitalizing Laranjeiras for smaller matches. This is added to the payment of debts, which reinforces that Fluminense alone would not be able to build a medium-sized stadium. The stadiums for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, for example, cost the following: US$295.4 million at Fonte Nova, US$601.5 million at Mané Garrincha, US$351.4 million at Arena Corinthians. The Sapporo Dome in Japan cost $456.3 million. Source is a study by Play The Game/Danish Institute for Sports Studies/BCB.
ORANGE TREES XXI
Right at the beginning of the management, the Laranjeiras XXI group went to the club to present the project for the revitalization construction of Laranjeiras. The idea, which has been around since 2017, was the stadium for 15,000 people. Still in Pedro Abad’s administration, the ex-mandatory alleged lack of financial conditions to undertake the reform. With Mário Bittencourt, who held meetings to understand the planning, the group set up to analyze understood that economically and structurally it was impossible.
There is still another fundamental point for the club’s decision. The area where the headquarters are located is listed as a “red area”, that is, it has extremely strict restrictions at the municipal, state and federal levels. There is also no possibility of construction on Rua Pinheiro Machado because the view from the apartments on the site, some with an angle to Christ the Redeemer, is listed by Inepac (State Institute of Cultural Heritage). Therefore, the 15 thousand proposed initially could not happen because the stands cannot go up in that direction.
One of the ideas was to break up the site. In Rio de Janeiro this only happened with Marquês de Sapucaí. In 2011, the cabins of the old Sector 2 were torn down to make way for new stands, following the original project by Oscar Niemeyer. Afterwards, the place was listed again. The neighborhood of Laranjeiras is located within a macro-zone of controlled occupation.
But what does that mean? On the Rio de Janeiro City Hall website, the definition of occupation guidelines is: “control of population density and limitation to new constructions. Urban renewal will preferably take place through the reconstruction or conversion of existing buildings and the growth of trade and service activities in places where the infrastructure is sufficient, respecting predominantly residential areas.” In other words, no new constructions are allowed. In addition, Decree No. 322, of 1976, defines the area as a predominantly residential area.
There was an attempt to unbundle in the 2000s, but it was disapproved by the City Council.
CAPACITY FOR 7 THOUSAND PEOPLE
Much has been criticized on social networks about the probable capacity for seven thousand people. Internally, it is understood that one of the reasons for this is that, today, this number is financially viable. But the most important thing is that the contracted architectural firm will still prepare the project to actually define what the final capacity will be. It may be that in the studies they come to the conclusion that more people would fit. The project that will say, but is unlikely to increase much.
This number was pointed out in the first structural engineering study and also by the historic capacity of the stadium, taking into account the adaptations. There will be a need for guardrails in the stands, widening of places where the fans circulate, bathrooms, among others. The club emphasizes that it will be able to play the entire Campeonato Carioca (except classics, semifinals and finals), in addition to the first two stages of the Copa do Brasil. With the current rules there can be no expansion of the structure.