A historic Queens tennis stadium that once hosted the U.S. Open will live to ace another day after the club that owns the venue voted against selling to a developer.
Members of the West Side Tennis Club voted 123-123 and failed to nab the required two-thirds majority to sell the land to developer Cord Meyer – a proposal that would have seen the stadium razed in favor of luxury condos.
According to a spokesperson, Cord Meyer is now out of any possible development for the site and that whatever happens now is “up to the Club.”
“Cord Meyer Development Company is deeply disappointed in the outcome of the vote by the West Side Tennis Club,” the development company said in a statement. “We continue to believe that our proposal was both beneficial financially to the West Side Tennis Club and fulfilled a desire to save the historic structure while providing for future residents of the community.”
Current residents of the community had expressed that they wanted the future to include a bit of the past. Michael Perlman, Chair of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, said that he will now ratchet up his efforts advocating landmark status for the site.
He also said that revitalizing the stadium could provide more financial benefits for the area than condos ever would have.
“Disney-esque condos would have torn the heart out of Forest Hills,” he said. “Mixed-use creative revitalization would yield a greater economic return in the long-run, and may feature tennis matches, concerts, weddings, exhibits, school trips, charity events and music and art festivals. It has the potential to be a 21st century family destination, bring our communities closer together, boost tourism, convey historic pride, educate our children, and help local businesses through tough economic times, and be an incentive for newer businesses.”
Congressmember Anthony Weiner, who spoke out against development, said that this vote indicates that members of the club, along with many residents, prefer to see the stadium used for its original intention of a mixed-use tennis stadium.
“My neighbors and I are gratified by the decision of the members of the West Side Tennis Club to reject the proposal to sell development rights to the historic stadium,” said the Congressmember. “This will give us all a chance to take a step back, take a deep breath and explore the best way forward to preserve this iconic site while respecting the rights of the club members.”
Kenneth Parker, president of the West Side Tennis Club, did not return requests for comment.