The Ghelamco Arena (also called Arteveldestadion) is a multi-use stadium in Ghent, Belgium, that was officially opened on July 17, 2013. It is mostly used for football matches and hosts the home matches of K.A.A. Gent. The stadium has a capacity of 20,000 people.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> It replaced the Jules Ottenstadion. The first plans of the stadium were presented mid-2003, but KAA Gent could only confirm that the stadium would be built in early 2011. The stadium hosted its first competitive match on 4 August 2013 when KAA Gent hosted KV Mechelen in a league match.
On 12 May 2003 then-alderman of Ghent Daniel Termont announced that as from the season 2006/07 the new stadium of KAA Gent would be situated on the site of the Groothandelsmarkt, near the R4 and the Ringvaart and close to the highways E17 and E40. The stadium should help in the further growth of the team.
On 28 November 2005 the lease agreement between the city of Ghent and the limited company Arteveldestadion was signed. The autonomous municipal company "AG Stadsontwikkelingsbedrijf Gent", abbreviated AG SOB, a subsidiary of the city of Ghent, was to cooperate in the plans. After earlier estimations in which was stated that the new stadium would be ready to play in as from 2006 or 2007, it was announced half-season 2006 that the opening would take place during half-season 2007/08.
At the start of 2007 the former Trade Market was pulled down and the surroundings were free, but the construction of the stadium didn't start yet. The hospital UZ Gent, which is situated nearby, worried about noise and mobility issues. A conflict surged between the Flemish Government and the city of Ghent about the Environmental Impact Report of the project.
On 28 July 2007 the Environmental Impact Report was finally approved. Team manager Michel Louwagie announced on the VRT show "Studio 1" that the construction of the stadium would finally start in January 2008. KAA Gent would play its home matches as from the summer of 2009 in the new stadium.
At a press conference at the end of October 2007 the final plans were made public. The stadium changed slightly (the front in glass was replaced by a metal gauze) and a planning application was constituted.
At the start of January 2008 the building permit was issued. In September 2008 the preparations of the constructions started and the 18. September 2008 the official foundation stone was laid by mayor Daniël Termont and president of KAA Gent Ivan De Witte. In 2009 problems concerning the financing of the stadium became public.
On 6 June 2010, the city of Ghent published the following text on its website: The city of Ghent, the AG Stadsontwikkelingsbedrijf, football team KAA Gent, LLC Buffalo and Ghelamco Group have come to a definitive agreement about the construction and exploitation of the Arteveldestadion. After approval of the adapted lease agreement in the city council, which was realized during the meeting on Monday, 6. September 2010, the construction works were started immediately. These construction works should be finished by the end of June 2013, to have the stadium ready at the start of the 2013-2014 season.
On 31 May 2013, a few months before the official opening, it was officially announced that the stadium would be named Ghelamco Arena, after the constructor, and not Arteveldestadion as had been presumed in the media.
Ghelamco Arena was conceived as the first ecological stadium in the Benelux. By means of a second (metal) front energy will be saved. The roof of the stadium will also be constructed with 13.000 m² (or 2 football fields) of photovoltaic solar panels. Rain water will be collected and re-use. The lights on the field will be installed under the porch roof, in order to avoid unnecessary light loss and to avoid light pollution.
Close to the stadium will be a parking car park of about 1500 parking spots. The other parking spots will be at Flanders Expo (3000), at the Blaarmeersen (750) and in Gentbrugge (250). Shuttle buses will bring supporters to the stadium.
Underneath the platform will be a walk with bars, restaurants, exposition rooms and a bowlng- and fitness room. These will be accessible throughout the year.
Ghelamco Arena will also be the new home base of Optima Financial Planners, the principal shareholder of the CVBA Arteveldestadium. The offices will be at the floor above the platform at the other side of the stadium. At the other side will be skyboxes and press rooms. At the under side of the stadium will be a room for large companies which are not intending to reach costumers, but rather small businesses.
- Ghelamco Arena: offices & retail
- The Blue Towers: offices in the Arteveldepark
- Pictures with plans of the Arteveldestadium (out of web.archive.org), AG Stadsontwikkelingsbedrijf Gent (AG SOB)
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