SBD/August 23, 2012/Facilities

Sony Open Tennis Execs Want Upgrades To Crandon Park

Organizers hope to add a sports bar, a pro shop, a player dining area, offices, terraces

Miami-Dade County commissioners today will decide whether to include on the Nov. 6 ballot "a $50-million makeover" to county-owned Crandon Park, which hosts the ATP/WTA Sony Open, according to a front-page piece by Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. The proposed renovations would include "new permanent grandstands, shaded pavilions, a grassy lawn and multi-story stadium additions." Two-thirds of voters would have to approve the upgrades, "which would be financed by tournament revenues." In return, the tournament "wants its lease extended to a total of 30 years with two optional, 10-year extensions." Tournament organizers said the tennis center “can no longer compete with other cities." When the Sony Open’s lease runs out in nine years, the tournament "could leave Miami.” The organizers propose “building seats for three courts, for up to 6,000, 4,000 and 3,000 spectators, respectively, with restrooms, locker rooms, broadcasting booths and concession areas.” They also want to “erect an open pavilion -- a roof with columns but no walls -- that would provide shade year-round and that they could outfit with canvas ‘walls’ during the tournament.” And they plan to “grow the main stadium to include a restaurant, player’s lounge and other amenities.” The height of the stadium and number of seats “would remain unchanged; up to 49,000 square feet would be added to the octagonal stadium, organizers say, by building one- to three-story additions to house a slew of amenities: a sports bar, a pro shop, a player dining area, offices, terraces.” Other plans include “reducing the number of tennis courts from 26 to 22 and building a lakeside cottage to broadcast interviews during the tournament and to launch kayaks and canoes the rest of the time.” Additionally, they want “grassy lawns, including one from which fans could watch tennis on a big screen, similar to the so-called Henman Hill at Wimbledon in London” (MIAMI HERALD, 8/23).

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