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Flushing tennis complex to get $50M renovation

The USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is slated to undergo a $50 million renovation to expand seating and add tennis courts by 2005.

The plans include new concession stands and restaurants, additional seats at two of the stadiums and five more tennis courts for use by the general public.

The city Industrial Development Agency, an arm of the city Economic Development Corporation, secured $40 million in tax-exempt bonds as well as $35 million in taxable bonds to fund the project, the agency announced last week.

IDA Chairman Andrew Alper said the funding would allow more people to use the tennis center.

“With the notoriety of the U.S. Open, the world’s premier tennis tournament, the public use of the facility tends to be overlooked,” Alper said in a release. “Each year the National Tennis Center provides tennis programs and clinics for the public, including children and the physically challenged.”

The center now sports a one-story indoor tennis facility with nine courts. The building will be replaced with a two-story structure with 14 courts and exercise and training facilities.

The renovations also include an addition of 600 seats to the 10,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium. The 5,000 seats of the Grandstand Stadium will be replaced, and 800 more will be added. Grandstand’s walkways, steps and railings will be redone.

The 23,160-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium is slated for improvements as well. The building will get new elevators, escalators and concession stands. Its two restaurants will be renovated.

The city also plans to construct new concession stands between Louis Armstrong and Grandstand Stadiums.

The project, which is still in its design phase, is expected to be completed in 2005, said Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the EDC.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.

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