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The Stadion An der Alten Försterei (English Stadium near the old forester's house) is a stadium in the Germanmarker capital Berlinmarker. It has been home to the association football club 1. FC Union Berlin (and its forerunners) since it was opened on August, 7th 1920. The capacity of the stadium before redevelopment commenced in the summer of 2008 was approximately 18,100 spectators. The capacity is now 18,950 spectators.

History

In 1920 the SC Union Oberschöneweide (forerunner of todays 1. FC Union Berlin) had to find a new homeground due to the fact that its former playing field was replaced by residential buildings. The club moved to the northwestern part of the Berlin locality Köpenickmarker. It was officially opened with a game of Oberschöneweide against the german champion at that time 1. FC Nürnberg. However the first match in the new playground was on March, 17th when Union challenged Viktoria 89 Berlin.

When Union entered the DDR-Oberliga (the elite level of the East Germanymarker) in the late 1960s the stadium needed to be expanded. The first expansion startet in 1970 followed by another in the late 1970s an 1980s and increased the capacity up to 22,500. Still the facilities at the Alte Försterei had long begun to show their age and did not get renovated properly. That hindered Union Berlin's chances of progressing up into the top leagues especially after the German reunification.

Prior to the beginning of their renovation, the terraces were in a very poor state of repair and their continued use was only on condition of a drastic cut in their capacity to 18,100 spectators.

Redevelopment

Phase 1

In the late 1990s the first plans about the future of Union's home venue began to develope. After several years of planning and discussions (about redevelopment or new development and financing) the Alte Försterei was finally renovated in 2008. Besides many little improvenment the three sides of the ground that are terraced were roofed, the ground got an undersoil heating system and a digital scoreboard was installed. The main reconstruction works were performed by the fans of the club. Specialist firms were only called in for the most complex tasks.

With the help of over 2,000 volunteering fans the stadium was reopenend in July, 8th 2009 against Hertha BSC.

Phase 2

The 1,500-seater main stand was also considered to be inadequate. Union Berlin would need a higher seated capacity in order to seriously compete at a higher level and the lack of VIP facilities meant that Union, despite their relatively large attendances, were falling behind their competitors with more modern facilities.

The second phase of the redevelopment will concentrate on the construction of a new main stand with 3,800 seats with 36 executive boxes. The start is scheduled for 2010.

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