NEW YORK, NY, USA - The USTA announced Thursday major upgrades of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that will include the building of a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and the construction of two new stadiums.
The three-phase implementation will begin at the conclusion of this year's US Open and is scheduled for completion by the 2018 US Open. The retractable roof construction is scheduled for completion in August 2017.
The entire project is estimated to cost $550 million, with the roof itself exceeding $100 million. The USTA will self-finance the project through bonds and USTA revenue generation. The USTA has invested more than $500 million since 2004 on site improvements.
"We have been working toward a viable design for a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium for more than a decade," said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Dave Haggerty. "Through a long and arduous process, we feel that we now have a design that meets the criteria of being architecturally sound, aesthetically pleasing, reasonably affordable and buildable."
In addition to the roof construction, the first phase of the project is also scheduled to include the shifting of the existing practice courts and two tournament courts to the north. That will allow the construction of an expanded viewing area for the practice courts and the three new tournament courts.
Phase two of the project will feature the construction of a new, 8,000-seat Grandstand Stadium in the southwest quadrant of the venue. Also, field courts 7 through 16 will be moved south and the fan experience will be improved, with a new food court, new merchandise locations and sponsor exhibit booths, and other fan amenities across the southern expanse.
The final phase of construction will involve the building of a new, 15,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium, which will be "roof-ready."
"We have an aggressive construction agenda for the entire National Tennis Center, with a new Grandstand Court built in time for the 2015 US Open, new retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium by 2017 and a new Louis Armstrong Stadium opening for the 2018 US Open," said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. "We recognize there are many known, and certainly many unknown, hurdles we will have to confront to meet this schedule. We are ready for the challenge and hope we can achieve it."
The improvements will allow the facility to be able to accommodate an extra 10,000 people a day during the US Open, increasing attendance by approximately 100,000 new visitors, thus providing a significant economic boon to Queens, New York City and the entire metropolitan region.