SBD/January 26, 2011/Facilities

Aussie Open To Remain At Melbourne Park For Decades Under Redevelopment Plan

Melbourne Park to get 21 new tennis courts, pedestrian bridge as part of new renovations
More details about the transformation of Melbourne Park have been released, "confirming that the Australian Open will remain in the city's sporting precinct for decades to come," according to Will Brodie of the Melbourne AGE. The Eastern Plaza development is the "second stage of the multi-million dollar facelift, intended to embed Australia's grand slam tournament in Melbourne, and help develop local tennis talent." Victoria Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine announced the project yesterday, with Napthine "emphasising the Plaza's sporting campus with indoor and outdoor tennis training facilities." A new "piazza-style public space will cater for fans and visitors at events including the Open." The project will include "eight new indoor courts and 13 new outdoor courts, new entries for Hisense Arena, and a new pedestrian bridge over Olympic Boulevard, which will complete a direct pedestrian link between" the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Park and AAMI Park. Work on the Eastern Plaza "should commence in early 2011," and stage one of the Melbourne Park redevelopment is "expected to be completed in time for the 2015 Australian Open" (Melbourne AGE, 1/26). In Melbourne, Kelly Ryan notes the Eastern Plaza is the "second component" of the US$362M first stage of the Melbourne Park redevelopment project. Napthine said the Eastern Plaza will be a year-round venue for "weddings, parties, anything." Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood: "The Melbourne Park redevelopment will provide a major boost for the tournament and the continual growth of tennis in Australia" (Melbourne HERALD SUN, 1/26).
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