New tennis stadium in Indian Wells
8,000 seat arena set to open in 2014
Tuesday in Indian Wells, hundreds of construction workers took a break from the project they've been working on since the end of this year's BNP Paribas Open, receiving kudos for the progress they've made building Stadium 2.
Construction workers and dignitaries signed the last structural beam, which was then placed atop the 8000 seat stadium, scheduled to open in time for the 2014 tournament.
"Everything is on schedule right now," said BNP Paribas Open and Indian Wells Tennis Garden CEO, Raymond Moore. "We're very happy with Landmark Construction Company. They're doing a great job. As you can see, what's been built here in 150 days is actually phenomenal."
Stadium 2 will be half the size of Stadium 1 and it features 3 restaurants, one of which has been hinted at by event owner Larry Ellison to be a high end sushi restaurant.
"If Larry says there's going to be a Nobu there, there's going to be a Nobu there," Moore said, adding that three restaurants have been contracted with.
The three contracted restaurants will be announced at a later date. Moore said it will be up to the restaurant owners if they would like to be open for business when the BNP Paribas Open is not active.
In addition to the amenities inside the stadium, the area around it will be enhanced by a second shade structure, parking for 2000 more cars and a grand entrance on Washington Street.
"They are picking up on the garden theme," Indian Wells Mayor, Mary Roche said. "They're putting in hundreds of palm trees and making it a complex where people can come for the entire day. Eat, rest, watch tennis."
Expansion means more money for the city of Indian Wells in ticket taxes. In 2013, the tournament drew 382,000 spectators. Moore expects to draw more than 400,000 in 2014, and there is a five year plan to break the 500,000 spectator mark.
Roche says the four resort hotels in Indian Wells are already filled up for the tournament each March, adding that expansion of the BNP Paribas Open will benefit hotels in other parts of the Coachella Valley.
For tennis players, growing the tournament makes for a bigger stage to showcase their world class skills.
"The players now have 20 practice courts plus nine match courts," Moore said. "That's the most in the world. I think they should be happy with that."
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