Prospective development at the home of the US Open could mean an ace for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Queens.
Members of the USTA and borough officials served up information about the upcoming plans, set to begin in the fall of 2013, at a meeting on Thursday, June 14 at the Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The multi-year, multi-million dollar makeover will include amending the infrastructure, upgrading buildings and improving site circulation, creating what the USTA executives believe will be an improved experience for players and fans alike.
“Our goal remains to ensure that the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center remains a world-class facility for the top professional tennis players, for the hundreds of thousands of fans who annually attend the US Open, and, as importantly the near hundred thousand recreational tennis players who use this facility all year round,” said Jon Vegosen, president of the USTA.
According to the USTA, the US Open generates more than $756 million a year in economic activity, draws a crowd of 700,000 and reaches a global audience of 85 million viewers in 188 countries.
“The city recognizes the crucial need to improve the USTA facility and supports this vision, so that the center remains a top-ranked tennis venue capable of hosting the US Open and thereby allowing the tournament to remain in New York City for many decades,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The project will forge two new stadiums – one replacing Louis Armstrong Stadium, which will remain in its current location, and a brand new Grandstand Stadium, constructed in a different spot at the southwest corner of the site. Both stadiums were originally built during the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The Louis Armstrong Stadium, constructed for the fair as a Singer Bowl, is a 125,000 gross-square-feet facility with approximately 10,000 seats. The stadium to be erected in its place will have the ability to seat 15,000 guests and include concession, retail, broadcasting and administrative spaces. The Grandstand Stadium, also created as a Singer Bowl for the World’s Fair, will be demolished and rebuilt to seat 8,000 fans.
Amenities at the newly renovated facilities will include seven additional courts, two parking garages and an elevated viewing platform. Combined, the improvements are expected to acquire an additional 10,000 people per day during the tournament.
According to the USTA, the US Open creates 6,000 seasonal jobs – 85 percent of employees hail from New York City and 41 percent from Queens.
“For generations, the Borough of Queens has played host to the US Open, a world class sporting event and a major economic catalyst for our city,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “I look forward to working with the USTA to ensure that the new additions to the NTC bring the maximum benefit to the people of the borough of Queens.”