The $200 million project — part of a five-year, $600 million transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center — is estimated to be 95 percent complete, according to Chief Operating Officer of the National Tennis Center Danny Zausner.
The new two-level stadium will also feature a retractable roof. If it were to rain during the U.S. Open, nearly 40,000 people would be sheltered from the inclement weather under the roofs at Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“The simple geometry and massing of the stadium allowed us to come up with a roof solution where we can open and close the roof in under five minutes,” said Matt Rossetti, CEO and president of Rossetti, the architectural design and planning firm behind the new Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The old Louis Armstrong Stadium could 10,500 people. But with 6,600 reserved seats in the lower bowl and 7,400 general admission in the upper bowl, more fans will be able to experience the matches.
Visitors will enter through two main gates and expansive concourses with escalators and elevators, features the old Louis Armstrong Stadium lacked.
"So the days of seeing 500 people standing in line outside to try to get into the stadium should hopefully go away, because we have that many more seats," Zausner said.
In addition to the retractable roof, the Louis Armstrong Stadium will also be the first naturally ventilated stadium of its kind.
With openings located at the north and south end of the stadium, air will flow throughout the stadium even if the roof is closed.
“There’s going to be a certain ‘wow’ factor when you come through the east gate,” Zausner promised. “The building is not just big, it’s special.”
Concession stands and bathrooms will be four times the size of the original, an update that will improve the fan experience that was overlooked at the old stadium.
"For 40 years we made great use of that stadium,” Zausner said. “The magic on court and history and what went on has always been spectacular, but quite frankly the fan experience was maybe subpar at best.
"They were so lost in the action on the court, they never really recognized that those bathrooms were built for the '64 World's Fair," he added.
USTA board chairman Katrina Adams finds it remarkable there were so many different elements added to the center over the last five years.
“The building of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, not unlike other pieces of the transformation, was a formidable challenge made all the more difficult when we had to halt construction every summer for this little tournament that welcomes fans from around the world,” Adams said. “Every year, once those fans left, we got back to work.”
For the first time, the Louis Armstrong Stadium will feature its own slate of evening play. In turn, more fans will be able to watch live tennis.
“I sincerely hope that allowing more people to experience the Open will likewise inspire them to pick up a racket and enjoy this great sport for a lifetime,” Adams said. “That’s my own definition of win-win.”