Plans are in the works to build an indoor tennis center on a 9-acre property located at 3100 W. Atlantic Blvd. in Pompano Beach. It would be the first indoor tennis facility in Broward County.
The project is being developed by partners Neal Feinberg of Parkland and Carl Gordon of Boca Raton. Gordon is the principal investor in the project and an avid tennis player; Feinberg, who has approximately 25 years of experience in the tennis industry, would be the tennis center’s general manager and one of its tennis pros.
The project site, which has been vacant for 10 years, was previously a part of the Palm Aire golf course that once operated within the Palm Aire community.
The indoor facility would have six tennis courts and six pickleball courts. However, depending on demand, some of the tennis courts could be converted into pickleball courts (each tennis court can yield three pickleball courts).
Feinberg said he and Gordon recognized the need for an indoor tennis facility in the area because in the summertime it’s “unbearably hot.”
“If people can play in an air-conditioned environment– with no rainouts, no sunburn, no bugs – that’s really going to affect their plans,” said Feinberg.
The tennis center would consist of a brick-and-mortar clubhouse with men’s and women’s locker rooms, a pro shop for restringing racquets and buying gear, a lounge, and possibly a café. The clubhouse would face Atlantic Boulevard.
The tennis courts and pickleball courts would be housed in a climate-controlled pneumatic structure (known as a “tennis bubble”) adjacent to the south side of the clubhouse. A generator and air blower would keep the pneumatic bubble continuously inflated and maintained at a certain pressure. The bubble – which would be accessed through a revolving door in the clubhouse – is durable and can withstand a Category 4 hurricane. In the case of a major storm, the bubble could be disassembled quickly.
“It’s a wonderful solution,” said Feinberg, who has previous experience managing an indoor tennis facility with a pneumatic bubble (Yorkville Tennis Club in New York City). “It’s substantially less expensive than building a hard structure, the construction time is shorter, and it’s industry standard.”
At the Pompano Beach facility, the tennis courts and pickleball courts would be a cushioned hard surface, which has the bounce and play of a traditional hard court, but is gentle on the knees and legs, said Feinberg.
LED lights would illuminate the courts and there would be divider nets between the courts to keep the balls from passing from court to court.
An acoustic barrier between the pickleball courts and tennis courts would likely be installed to muffle the popping sound a plastic pickleball makes when it hits the hard plastic racquet.
Currently, the plan is to have TV monitors in the clubhouse to provide viewing of the courts. The tennis center intends to host United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments and Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) events, which would be simulcast live on the Internet.
Indoor Tennis & Pickleball Center
Pricing for access to the facility still needs to be determined based on market factors. However, the intention is for it to be a hybrid that offers access to both members and non-members.
Feinberg anticipates the indoor facility would draw tennis fans from locations within an hour radius, including Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Miami. He said tourists who are traveling to South Florida might start planning a portion of their trip around access to the facility.
The name of the facility, as of now, is Florida Indoor Tennis & Pickleball.
In July, the Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved applications from the developers to change the city’s land use designation of the project site from Open Space Recreation to Commercial Recreation, and to rezone it from Parks and Recreation to Commercial Recreation.
The applications for the land use change and rezoning are scheduled to go to the City Commission in September for a first and second reading. The developers expect to submit a formal site plan application to the City in the coming weeks.
If the necessary approvals are obtained, construction could start in spring 2023, and the facility could potentially open in late summer.
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