INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Work began on the Indian Wells Tennis Garden expansion the day after the 2013 tournament ended. It only took 10 months and 10 days to build a brand new world class stadium that will be ready for play in March.
"We're very excited," said Indian Wells Tennis Garden CEO Raymond Moore. "I think what we've been able to do here in the last year is totally transform the whole site."
It begins with a grand entrance the tournament has never had before. When fans arrive through the new Washington Street gate, the brand new 8,000 seat stadium 2 is the first thing they'll see. From the outside it looks very much like the main stadium that is twice its size, and that is by design.
"We picked off the details, the scale, the colors," Architect "We just re-assembled them into the stadium 2 foot print."
The design was made to look like everything new has always been here. The one thing that has never been seen in any tennis stadium around the world, full service five-star restaurants.
"It's been an incredible experience building Nobu, and the Chop House," said Jody Watkins, CEO of Watkins Landmark Construction. "Having restaurants like that where you can watch tennis is going to make this stadium different than any other in the world."
Anyone can dine at any of the restaurants during the tournament, and anyone with any priced ticket can watch a match in any of the stadiums. Stadium 2 has 2,000 reserved seats in the lower bowl, and six thousand general admission seats above them.
"If there's a player in there that you and your family might want to see but you can only afford the grounds pass, why do I want to turn you away from the gate so you can't enjoy that match?" Tournament Director Steve Simon said. "We've created that everywhere so that everybody can go to every single court."
417 new palm trees were planted at a cost of more than $3,000 dollars each. Moore says the initial $70 million dollar budget for the expansion ballooned closer to $100 million. Tournament owner Larry Ellison is paying for the whole project.
Moore says he went to Ellison with a five year plan to build out the site. Ellison asked if it could be done in one year, and it has.
The goal for 2014 is to draw 420,000 spectators over the two week event. The long term goal is to bring in more than half a million people.
"We're just going to try every year to improve this tournament," Moore said. "And give the fans the best experience that we can possibly think of."