The city is in full swing tearing down old stadiums and arenas and building new ones in anticipation of the Central American and Caribbean Games, where Barranquilla will play host in 2018. We are going to take a look at all the stadiums and arenas one-by-one and provide as much information as we know about each project.
Metropolitano – Roberto Melendez – Football
The biggest sports grounds in the city and in the country is Roberto Melendez Stadium. This field, also known as Metropolitano, is the home to the Colombian National Team and the local squads Junior FC and Barranquilla FC. Originally the capacity was 65.000 spectators, but after the 2011 renovations for the U-20 FIFA´s World Cup, the maximum attendance was reduced to 46,692 people seated.
Although its primary purpose and most frequent use is football, this venue has very modern athletics facilities including a new athletic track installed in 2014, and a pit for both the long jump and the triple jump. During the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Games “El Metro” will host all the athletics, running, and marathon competitions.
This venue is located in the south of the city in the metropolitan area close to Soledad, at the intersection between Murrillo Avenue (45th street), and Circunvalar Avenue (the perimeter highway that surrounds the city). For public transportation, several buses pass by both main avenues, including a TransMetro Station about a five-minute walk from the stadium called Joaquín Barrios Polo (45th Street between Avenues 1G and 2A).
Romelio Martinez – Football – To be renovated for 2018
Before the Metropolitano was inaugurated in 1986, Romelio Martinez Stadium was the biggest football grounds in the city and had been home of several first division local clubs since 1934. “El Romelio” hosted Juniors’ first two titles and the Selección Colombia qualifying tournament for the 1966 World Cup. After 1990, the Atlántico Football League offices were developed on the grounds, and it was also used for most of the important events and concerts of the city, including the Carnival´s Festival de Orquestas.
Nowadays, the stadium is under renovations for the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Games, where it will host the women’s football games. It will have the capacity for 12,000 spectators, and three of the tribunes were demolished to build brand new ones. The field is going to be rotated 90 degrees and only the old Art Deco grandstand that is a national monument is going to remain intact in the new facility. The renovations will also include the construction of private boxes, VIP zones, radio and TV cabins, a food area, crafts stands, and green spaces all around that will allow the venue to host concerts and Carnaval events in a better way. The renovations began in November 2016 and are expected to be finished by May 2018.
This field is located between 72nd and 74th Streets between Avenues 44 and 46. For public transportation, several buses pass by all main avenues, including the main TransMetro Station called Joe Arroyo at the corner of 74th Street with 46th Avenue.
Arena Elías Chewing – Basketball – To be renovated for 2018
This Coliseum was the home of the now extinct local basketball team Los Caimanes. With a capacity of 2400 people, the Elias Chewing witnessed the three national titles that this franchise won during the mid and late 90’s. As with many others sports complexes in the city, once the professional practice stopped, this coliseum was underused and poorly maintained, being reserved in most cases only for events such as parties, boxing matches and conventions.
With the designation of Barranquilla for the Central American and Caribbean Games, Elias Chewing will be renovated 80% and expanded up to 4800 spectators with a construction certified by the FIBA. The facility will be used exclusively for basketball and will have six dressing rooms, a unique wood flooring for the court ,and a structure on the roof that will help with cooling Barranquilla’s hot air. The renovations started in November 2016 and are expected to finish after ten months.
The Elias Chewing arena is located on 72nd Street, between Avenues 46 and 47. Opposed to the old Coliseum, the new arena will have its main entrance facing Suri Salcedo Park. For public transportation, several buses pass along 72nd Street, and the closest TransMetro Stations are Estercitha Forero (70th Street with 46th Avenue) and Joe Arroyo (74th Street with 46th Avenue).
Palacio de Combates – Old Humberto Perea – To be built for 2018
The old Humberto Perea Coliseum was demolished in 2016 to make room for the brand new Combat Palace. This complex will be the home of twelve departmental leagues including karate, boxing, taekwondo, and judo. It will also host all the fights of these disciplines during the 2018 Central American & Caribbean Games.
The building is expected to be finished by May 2018 and will also be turned 30 degrees compared to the old one with the purpose of reaching trade winds that will provide a nice internal temperature. Beside fighting, it will also have indoor football, basketball and chess facilities combined with administrative and commercial areas, several dressing rooms, gyms, and coffee shops.
The Combat Palace will be located on 58th Street, with Avenue 54. For public transportation, several buses pass by both the main Street and the Avenue, and the closest TransMetro Stations are La Catedral (53rd Street with 46th Avenue) and Alfredo Correa De Andreis (60th Street with 46th Avenue). Both are about a fifteen-minute walk.
Estadio Edgar Rentería – Old Tomás Arrieta – Baseball – To be built for 2018
After 70 years of great baseball history, the old Tomás Arrieta diamond was demolished in July 2016 to be replaced by the new Edgar Renteria Stadium to be finished by mid-2018. The new home of Los Caimanes de Barranquilla will be turned 180 degrees to face the Magdalena River, and will double the capacity of the old one, becoming the biggest stadium of this sport in the country (12000 spectators and 16 boxes).
The Edgar Renteria will have all the same features as any minor league ballpark in the US, and it has been approved by Major League Baseball (the first one in South America). This is a fact that will allow the city not only to host the Central American and Caribbean games, but also to aspire to host the Caribbean Series and other international baseball events.
It will have its main entrance at the interception of 56th Avenue with 47th Street. For public transportation, several buses pass by 11 de Noviembre Avenue (54th Avenue), and the closest TransMetro Station is Barrio Abajo, about a fifteen-minute walk away at the corner of 45th Street (Murillo) with 46th Avenue (Olaya Herrera).
Moderno – Julio Torres – Football – To be renovated for 2018
The Modern Stadium was the first football grounds in the city. In 1922 it hosted the first organized football match in Colombia’s history, a reason why years later it was declared a cultural and sports heritage of the country. When Junior moved to the Romelio Martinez in 1944, the usage of this facility started to decrease, reaching a point where it only served as the home of the gatekeeper’s family.
After 40 years of almost total abandonment, the district announced renovations for the Central American and Caribbean games to be held in the city in 2018. According to the Mayor’s Sports Office, the facility that will host the men’s football matches during the Games will have a new semisynthetic lawn, new stands, lighting, and a new enclosure. The new structure of the roof will resemble the sombrero vueltiao, and the contrition includes the renewals of nearby streets. There’s not a start date yet but as all the new venues to be used for the games are expected to be ready before June 2018.
This field is located on the 30th Street between Avenues 23b and 25. For public transportation, several buses pass by Boyacá Avenue (30th Street), and the closest TransMetro Station is Atlántico, about a fifteen-minute walk away, at the corner of 45th Street with Avenue 26.
Parque de Raquetas – Tennis & squash – To be biult for 2018
Although this racquet park is still a project and no construction work has started yet, the designs for the first public tennis stadium in Colombia are ready. The Parque de Raquetas would have capacity for 2,500 people and the complex would include a squash stadium with four glass courts, and the adjustments for the International Tennis Federation certification of 10 other tennis courts in the compound.
The new facilities will host the tennis matches during the Central American and Caribbean Games and allow the city to organize more important international tournaments such as ATP 250 and Challengers. It would be located on the Atlántico Tennis League at Paseo La Castellana, north of Barranquilla at 100th Street with Avenue 53. For public transportation, several buses pass by Avenue 53 and 51B; and there are no closer TransMetro Stations. However, the service can be taken on the alimentadores bus stops nearby.
Complejo Acuático – Swimming – To be built for 2018
Also as a project for the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Games, still no final designs or construction plan, the Aquatic Complex will be constructed on the site of the Olympic Pool, and it will have three new pools. According to the Mayor’s Sports Office, the plan is to the demolish the old public pool and the fire station behind it, and to have one Olympic, one diving, and one warming pool, all meeting general specifications.
The old olympic pool facility, which has one pool for racing, one for diving and one kid’s pool, is currently located at 55th Avenue #52-170. The Mayors idea is to integrate this new complex with the Combat Palace, the Amira De la Rosa Theater and the Homenaje a la Bandera Park, by making that segment of 55th Avenue pedestrian only.
Velodromo Rafel Vazquez – Track cycling – To be renovated for 2018
The 24-year old Velodrome built for the XIV National Games needs renovations in order to reach the UCI certifications that will allow the venue to host the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games. The initial project planned to demolish the whole structure to build a new one, but the budget reductions among other reasons motivated Coldeportes to only impulse renovations.
The new velodrome will keep the stands that it has but a roof will be added to preserve both the new wooden and concrete surface of the track. It would have a capacity of 4,000 people, new offices, warming zones, and a gymnasium. The location will remain the same, at Circunvalar Avenue with Murillo Avenue (45th Street). For public transportation, several buses pass by both main avenues, including a TransMetro Station about five minutes’ walk from the stadium called Joaquín Barrios Polo (45th Street between Avenues 1G and 2A).
Estadio de Altetismo – Athletics – To be built for 2018
The athletic track will be 400 meters long, will have eight lanes, and the material will be certified by the International Athletics Federation, IAAF. This space will serve as a warm up station during the Central American and Caribbean Games competitions to be disputed on the Roberto Melendez track, and after the games for the use of the Atlántico Athletics League, especially the track and field disciplines.
This training facility, that will be built in one of the lots next to the Metropolitano Stadium on Avenue 1C between 45th and 46th Streets, will work as an alternative for the athletes that use the old (now eliminated from the new project) Romelio Martinez Olympic track. For public transportation, several buses pass by Murillo Avenue (45th Street), including a TransMetro Station about five minutes’ walk from the stadium called Joaquín Barrios Polo (45th Street between Avenues 1G and 2A).