By Jenna Bagcal
After more than 100 years, the North Shore Tennis & Racquet Club in Bayside may be shutting its doors for good — and sold to developers at a lucrative asking price.
The historic athletic center at 34-28 214th Place is allegedly being sold to developers, according to three sources familiar with the situation, all of whom asked that TimesLedger not identify them by name. The sources, who have strong connections to the club, said that they learned of the sale directly from club president George Pauliny and other club members.
TimesLedger had obtained several posts from the Bayside, Queens Facebook group which reported that the club would be sold to developers for an undisclosed sum. The sources later confirmed to TimesLedger that the price is $12.2 million according to Pauliny.
The sources claimed that the contract with developers was drafted without many of the vested members’ knowledge. One source said that the plan was presented to the 11 official board members on Sept. 8, and they were instructed not to tell the 37 vested members about the situation.
Once the contract was drafted, the sources told TimesLedger, it was presented to the rest of the members who were asked to vote on it; the resulting vote was 39 to 9 in favor of the sale. Thirteen “no” votes would have stopped the sale from going through.
Upon execution of the contract, the unnamed developers would likely raze the club grounds and historic club house by next summer. The sources told TimesLedger that fully and partially vested club members would then divide the $12.2 million between themselves based on length of time on the board.
One source told us that $8,400 would be earned for every year a member has held their bond. They shared that a member who has a 44-year bond would earn approximately $369,000 from the sale.
Pauliny allegedly did not inform voting club members that there were alternative options proposed that would save the club from its impending demise. Sources said that one of the proposal would allow for some of the property to be sold while maintaining the club house and some tennis courts.
Others report that there were proposals that would present vested members with a “buy-out” option for shareholders, but a source said that many of the board members were not aware of this.
Developers reportedly want to close the deal with realtors Cushman & Wakefield by Dec. 31. The real estate company was reportedly not interested in a partial sale of the property.
But the club’s sale is only part of the unfolding drama at the tennis club, said sources. One source shared that the situation has taken a legal turn and some club members are exploring their legal options. A few are reportedly seeking a temporary restraining order for injunctive relief to investigate why they weren’t presented with alternative proposals.
Back in 2008, reports showed that Pauliny pleaded guilty to “grand larceny by extortion” when he was vice president of Turner Construction. He admitted to threatening to exclude Turner subcontractors “used on New York City Economic Development Corporation contracts unless they performed private work on Pauliny’s home in Queens.”
Pauliny subsequently lost his job and was permanently banned from “any future contracting work on any government contracts,” according to The Villager police blotter.
Sources also shared that when the tennis club lost its status as a nonprofit organization, the president allegedly failed to pay the required tax assessments unbeknownst to many of the voting club members.
Club members and many from the community at large are upset that the historic club house building could possibly be demolished. Some fear that it will follow in the footsteps of the Bayside Yacht Club, which was sold to the Grace Presbyterian Korean Church in 1994.
TimesLedger reached out to Cushman and Wakefield, as well as the North Shore Tennis & Racquet Club offices, for comments, and is awaiting responses.