Makeover planned for US Open site

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 14, 2012
The U.S. Tennis Association plans to give the home of the U.S. Open a makeover that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but does not include putting a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The USTA unveiled its plan on Thursday to upgrade the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, starting in the autumn of 2013. The renovation calls for the 6,000-seat Grandstand adjacent to Louis Armstrong Stadium to be relocated; seven tournament courts to be moved to create more room for spectators to move about the grounds; and Armstrong Stadium to be rebuilt and expanded from 10,000 seats to 15,000. Danny Zausner, director of operations for the tennis center, says it will take about a year to get approval from New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg supports the plan. USTA executive director Gordon Smith declined to put a price tag on the renovations, but said they would be in the hundreds of millions. Also among the planned upgrades are new practice courts with viewing areas for fans and expanded parking garages. Zausner said the USTA has worked with engineers and architects for years to try to come up with a way to put a roof on the 25,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium to help combat rain delays for marquee matches. The last four men's finals have been played on Mondays instead of the traditional Sunday because of weather delays. But because the tennis center was built on unstable, swampy land, Ashe Stadium cannot hold a roof, USTA officials said. Smith said the only way to do it would be to build a ''building over a building.'' He called that ''an architectural abomination'' that would not be worth the cost. ''There is not an economic case to be made for building a roof,'' he said. Smith said the organization will continue to work toward finding a way to put a roof on the stadium. The USTA expects the new Louis Armstrong Stadium will be ready by 2018.
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