In a move that could prove to be a surge to Orlando’s economy, as well as to the game of tennis as a whole, the U.S. Tennis Association this week broke ground on an ambitious plan to turn Orlando into the tennis capital of the United States—with the help of a massive $60 million facility.
You can’t fault them for the effort, really.
The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), the organization that promotes the sport throughout the country, is breaking ground on a massive new project, and it’s one that has the potential to serve returns for decades to come.
On Wednesday, the association began building its new $60 million facility near the city’s Lake Nona, a quickly expanding hub. The 63-acre tennis center will be the country’s largest and will also serve as an anchor to the region’s overall development.
“No tennis facility anywhere will have everything this center has to offer,” USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. “Even the size of it I think people will be completely blown away by.”
The facility will include dozens of clay and hard courts, all set aside for different uses, including tournament play, practices, and as a place for the University of Central Florida’s tennis team to work. It’ll also have enough seating for 1,200 spectators.
“Imagine this: we are going to have 32 hard courts and 32 clay courts,” Smith said, according to MyFoxOrlando.com. “We could play the first round of two 64 draw tournaments at the same time.”
The association will also move its headquarters to the location in time for the center’s opening in fall 2016.
The move reflects an evolution of Orlando’s economy—particularly around the Lake Nona area. Tavistock Development Co. LLC, which is developing the area, is currently hard at work opening two hotels and also plans to open a third upscale resort. The complex helps to diversify Orlando’s economy as a whole.
“Lake Nona is the ideal place for the USTA to grow and thrive,” Tavistock Group Senior Managing Director Rasesh Thakkar said in a news release. “We have a long history in sports, and together with the USTA, we will continue to attract innovators to Lake Nona to create opportunities that will advance sports science and athletic performance.”