SBJ/20090525/Facilities

Arup hoping to bring expertise in roofs to USTA’s Ashe Stadium

The five firms set to interview Tuesday for the job to design a retractable roof for the U.S. Tennis Association’s Arthur Ashe Stadium include Arup, a London-based company that helped develop the Bird’s Nest for the Beijing Olympics.

Arup joins Aedas LA, Populous, Rossetti and 360 Architecture competing for the project, confirmed Danny Zausner, the USTA’s managing director.

Arup’s portfolio includes an engineering role for Miller Park in Milwaukee, one of five MLB venues with a retractable roof, and Toyota Stadium in Japan, said principal Stephen Burrows. The Singapore Sports Hub stadium, another Arup project now in development, also has a mobile roof.

The Bird’s Nest and two other international stadiums Arup helped engineer in Germany and Qatar don’t have retractable roofs but feature canopies that cover spectators and an open playing field.

Who’ll stop the rain? Five firms are vying
for the honor at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The four other finalists also have strong credentials. Populous, formerly HOK Sport, received favorable reviews last week after the retractable roof it designed for Wimbledon’s Centre Court completed its first public test.

Dan Meis, whose Los Angeles-based practice is part of Aedas, previously consulted with the USTA on the roof project and was involved in the Miller Park project when he was with NBBJ.

Rossetti originally designed Ashe Stadium and has planned upgrades since the $254 million facility opened in 1997.

As a company, 360 has not designed a retractable roof, but principals Bill Johnson and Brad Schrock worked on Chase Field and Safeco Field, two MLB parks with moving roofs.

 BROOKLYN BOUND?: Don’t be surprised if Ellerbe Becket becomes the lead designer for Barclays Center, the Nets’ much-delayed arena project.

Renowned civic architect Frank Gehry originally designed the building. Kansas City-based Ellerbe, designer for the two newest NBA arenas, in Charlotte and Memphis, has been consulting for the Nets for the past three years and is making adjustments to arena blueprints to see how it can be built at a lower cost.

Team officials declined to confirm Ellerbe’s involvement or whether Gehry is still part of the project.

Nets owner Bruce Ratner told the New York media May 15 that he expects construction to start this fall after what team officials call the final legal action against the Atlantic Yards development was dismissed in court. Ratner still needs to sell bonds to finance the project, another big hurdle to overcome.

Ratner anticipates Barclays Center will carry a final price tag of about $800 million, about $150 million less than previous estimates.

Ellerbe Becket principal Bill Crockett said, “Our work has been ongoing, and we have not been advised of what they will accept and when it will be released.”

 HE KNOWS THE WAY: San Jose State University has a plan to build a three-story hospitality and football support structure in the south end zone of Spartan Stadium, confirmed Athletic Director Tom Bowen.

The proposal is in the early stages of development. Bowen said he has talked to four people who have expressed interest in funding the $8 million project, although he declined to identify them. “It’s been a very quiet campaign,” he said.

In addition, with building material and labor costs continuing to decrease in a stagnant construction market, the time is right for the school to continue efforts to renovate the 76-year-old stadium, Bowen said. The cost for the end zone expansion has dropped about $2 million.

Ellerbe Becket has been consulting on the project. The 20,000-square-foot building’s top floor would contain 300 outdoor club seats, an indoor lounge and two bookend suites reserved for the athletic director and school president.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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