The Indian Wells, Calif., City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to give BNP Paribas Open officials "the green light to begin the process of making the annual tennis tournament bigger not just locally, but on an international level," according to Colin Atagi of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Plans to expand the Indian Wells Tennis Garden "call for an 8,000-seat stadium about 100 yards east of the existing stadium, a 2,000-space grass parking lot, new restaurants and other amenities." Construction "may begin March 18 -- the day after this year’s tourney ends." Tournament officials "plan to finish" the $70M project in time for the '14 tournament. Their goal is to "increase attendance from 370,000 to 500,000 in five years." The BNP Paribas Open currently is the "fifth-largest tourney in the world, but an attendance of 500,000 people would put it above Wimbledon and the French Open." Tournament CEO Raymond Moore said there is “heightened interest” among Grand Slam officials in visiting Indian Wells (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 2/22).