Queens $500M Tennis Center expansion sees support at community board meeting

February 14, 2013 12:00PM

Updated with comment for NYC Park Advocates, 3:07 p.m., Feb. 14: Plans to expand the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Tennis Center in Kew Gardens aced it at Tuesday’s Community Board 9 meeting, according to DNAinfo. The $500 million renovation proposal for the U.S. Open home garnered support from union workers, industry insiders and tennis fans after meeting opposition at the previous evening’s community board discussion.

The renovations grow the stadium complex by about one acre, adding 50 percent more seating to the Louis Armstrong Stadium for a total of 15,000 total seats and adding 2,000 seats to the Grandstand. The renovation will also add additional retail, administrative and parking spaces.

Rob MacKay, director of tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corporation, called the USTA “a great economic engine through job creation and visitor attraction.” He went on to argue that, “in Queens alone, the tournament is responsible for nearly 2,600 hotel room nights. This is a significant boost to our local economy, creating thousands of jobs.”

However, the plan is controversial and the previous evening’s meeting had been more contentious, according to DNAinfo. Opponents of the plan have argued that the expansion would destroy public parkland and axe hundreds of trees.

“Their [the USTA’s] new strategy is to parade the union construction trades, business representatives and people affiliated with the USTA, but no actual community support because the plan has none,”  Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates, told The Real Deal[DNAinfo]Christopher Cameron