During November 2017 members of the Melbourne Park redevelopment team embarked on a 10-day study tour of the United States and some of its most iconic sports arenas.
Project Director, Benjamin Delaney and Senior Project Manager, Peter VanLambaart represented Development Victoria as part of a contingent that included members from Tennis Australia and Sports and Recreation Victoria.
One of the key purposes of the study tour was to benchmark best practice for delivering a project in a live entertainment and public space. Development Victoria developed a speciality in this area however it had not done any benchmarking to see if the approach and execution employed is world class.
The arenas visited on the study tour included Madison Square Garden in New York, TD Garden in Boston, Flushing Meadows in New York and the Penn State University football stadium. Additionally, the group also visited Times Square and the Highline in Manhattan to get better idea of how to safely move a large amount of pedestrian traffic through public spaces.
Take-outs from these visits included:
- The award-winning state-of-the-art TD Garden is a year-round 19,600-seat arena, fully equipped with three private restaurants (Banners Harbour view, Legends and the Premium Club Bistro) 90 executive suites, 1,100 club seats, a multi-million-dollar high definition video scoreboard and complete 360-degree LED technology
- Since its opening in 1995, TD Garden has hosted over 200 events a year. In 2014, owner and operator Delaware North invested over $70 million for a comprehensive arena-wide renovation to upgrade the fan experience including redesigned concourses, new concession offerings and upgraded technology
- The redevelopment taking place at Flushing Meadows is costed at around $500 million and includes a new 8000 capacity show court with a wide shaded spectator boulevard to outside courts and a new retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. Additionally a new 14,000 capacity Louis Armstrong Stadium is also forms part of this redevelopment
The team took away many learnings from the study tour that could be applied to the next stage of project at Melbourne Park, further enhancing its reputation as a revolutionary redevelopment project.
Furthermore, the MPR team was able to establish that DV is at the forefront of delivering projects in a live events and sporting environment, compared to other venues such as Flushing Meadows which mainly operates as the host of the US Open.
This allows for the construction and redevelopment works to be significantly less challenging than at a venue which hosts around 600 events a year like Melbourne Park.