New York, NY (Sports Network) - The United States Tennis Association
announced plans for a sweeping transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center, including a new Louis Armstrong Stadium, a new
Grandstand, wider walkways and improved traffic flow around the complex and a
retractable roof over the grounds' showpiece, Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"This transformation will make the U.S. Open more accessible to more fans,
creating a spectacular facility that will mirror the energy and excitement of
New York and provide an enhanced player and fan experience," USTA chairman,
president and CEO Dave Haggerty said during a news conference Thursday to
announce the plans. "When all the pieces are in place, the National Tennis
Center will be among the most fan-friendly, technologically advanced
facilities in the world of sports -- a leader for the 21st century and
The total cost is estimated at $550 million, including the retractable roof,
which is estimated in excess of $100 million. The USTA, as it has done in the
past, will self-finance the entire cost of the improvements through a
combination of bonds and USTA revenue generation.
The retractable roof will be constructed of flexible, translucent fabric
stretched over a steel frame that will be supported by eight steel columns
surrounding the stadium.
In addition to the roof over Ashe, the key pieces of the transformation are
building a new Armstrong Stadium in its current location; razing the current
Grandstand Court and shifting its location from the northeast corner to the
southwest corner of the Tennis Center to better distribute fan traffic
throughout the facility; and moving some of the field courts further south in
order to create a wider pedestrian walkway that will connect the new
Grandstand to Court 17, which is located in the southeast corner of the
Construction will begin at the conclusion of the 2013 U.S. Open, with the
completion of the retractable roof for Ashe scheduled for Aug. 2017 and the
goal for the overall completion of the project slated for 2018. The first
stadium to be completed will be the Grandstand in 2015.
Once the transformation is complete, the grounds will be able to accommodate
an additional 10,000 fans per day, which would increase the overall annual
attendance by approximately 100,000.
"The U.S. Open is a world-class event that demands a world-class venue, and
we're going to transform the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for
the fans," said Gordon Smith, USTA executive director and chief operating
officer. "We're really proud to be a good neighbor of the Flushing
Meadows-Corona Park, the borough of Queens and the City of New York,
delivering over $750 million in economic impact each year to this city, our
"To sum it up, it's great for everyone involved, and it's great for tennis."
The 2013 U.S. Open will commence Aug. 26.
The Sports Network