By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
August 23, 2013
Come 2017, the U.S. Open will be a little more waterproof. The USTA has finally announced plans for sweeping renovations to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, including two brand new stadiums and a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe. The cost for this historic transformation will be around 550 million dollars, including a new 8,000 seat Grandstand Stadium, a new 15,000 seat Louis Armstrong Stadium, and expanded practice court viewing areas. Arthur Ashe’s retractable roof alone is estimated to cost more than 100 million dollars.
For comparison’s sake, the roof above Centre Court at Wimbledon was estimated to cost about 150 million pounds, or 234 million dollars at current exchange rates, while a retractable roof on the proposed new Atlanta Falcons NFL stadium is estimated at 183 million dollars, roughly 40 to 50 million dollars more than a fixed roof would cost.
Since 1994, the USTA has invested more than $500 million in improvements to the Flushing Meadows site. The new upgrades will begin shortly after the last ball is struck at this year’s Open, with the roof to be completed by August 2017 and the new stadiums to come soon thereafter.