RDS to be redeveloped into 25,000 capacity stadium
Work scheduled to begin in 2016 on ‘a multi-purpose world class arena’
Leinster and the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) have agreed to redevelop their grounds in Dublin into a 25,000 capacity stadium. The design of the new complex, which may included terracing for 1,500 spectators but which will be largely all-seater, will be decided after an international architectural competition is held.
The current capacity of 18,500 is seen as too small for Leinster, who have been one of the top European sides for the last number of years. The three-time European Cup winners have being playing in the RDS since moving from the smaller Donnybrook in 2007.
With a six month time frame in place for the selection of the design concept, work is not expected to start until April 2016 at the earliest. Leinster will continue to play their home games at the venue during the redevelopment and the Dublin Horse Show will also continue as normal.
The budget for the build, which is complex and involves demolishing the old Angelsea stand as well as putting additional seating beside the new stands, is €20 million. That money will come from the RDS, although with subsequent revenue streams coming from naming rights and other commercial activity, the RDS is satisfied with their investment.
“Naming rights would be an important part of our thinking,” said Michael Duffy chief executive of the RDS, this afternoon.
During the redevelopment the capacity will be reduced, although temporary seating will be used where the current Angelsea stand is located.
“We are realistic to know that we have to move with the time,” said Leinster coach Matt O’Connor. “And ensure development of the facilities in the RDS to a world class level and ultimately the players will benefit from that.”
The new stadium will be multi-purpose and will have enhanced facilities. The decision on the design will be adjudicated by a five person jury and chaired by Owen Lewis, professor emeritus of Architectural Science, UCD.
“The move from Donnybrook in 2007/08 has proved to be extremely successful,” said Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson. “However, we want to move forward and a 25,000 capacity, purpose built arena will allow us to do that and provide us with greater commercial opportunities both within the stadium and with regard to naming rights.”