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SBD Global/October 21, 2013/Facilities

French Court Lifts Suspension On Roland Garros Expansion, But Obstacles Remain

A French tribunal "has lifted the suspension of plans to expand Roland Garros, a decision the French Tennis Federation (FFT) welcomed with 'great satisfaction' on Thursday," according to the AP. In March, the planned renovation of Roland Garros "was put on hold after the tribunal sided with local residents who complained the development could harm the environment." The Administrative Court of Paris' appeals court "overturned the ruling on Thursday." The home of the French Open "is undergoing an expansion that was scheduled to be completed in 2017, with plans including a retractable roof over the centre court." In a statement, the FFT said, "The French Tennis Federation notes with great satisfaction the (decision) made today by the Administrative Court of Paris. The FFT has the right to build the court it had intended to build in the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil." The Roland Garros plans "have been controversial from the start," after the federation voted in Feb. '11 to keep the French Open there and renovate the existing site, rather than moving the tournament. Before the start of that year's tournament, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe publicly dismissed concerns that the project -- estimated to cost about €285M ($390M ) -- "would damage the botanical garden," saying it "will not destroy one single plant or one single flower" (AP, 10/18). FRANCE TV SPORT reported the new agreement "will now be submitted to the inspection of the various opponents of the project." Then it will be the building permits that "may be appealed to the courts." In short, the extension of Roland Garros "is not yet out of the woods." The extension "aims to improve the financial returns of the FFT." The project now has an estimated price tag of €340M ($465M). As usual, the slate "will be even heavier at the end of the work." Initially, the extension of Roland Garros was scheduled to be completed in '17. Now it is '18, and "most likely after because work can not begin until after obtaining the building permit." So, we "must wait to see if the suspensive appeal will not disrupt the proceedings" (FRANCE TV SPORT, 10/17).
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