The Port Washington Tennis Academy, which coached legendary players Tracy Austin, Vitas Gerulaitis, and John and Patrick McEnroe, is being sold and operated under a 25-year lease by Sportime Clubs LLC, which operates tennis facilities on Long Island and Manhattan. Westchester and Schenectady.
Great Neck-based Hornig Capital Partners, whose real estate investments include office and residential projects on Long Island, New York City and New Jersey, is acquiring the facility from the non-profit Port Washington Tennis Academy Inc.
The sale, financial terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close by the end of the year or early 2023, subject to approval by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, which oversees nonprofit organizations.
In a 2020 government filing, the latest available, the Port Washington Tennis Academy reported a deficit of $377,104.
The principles of the deal were put together by twin brothers and rock musicians Logan and Roger Raskin, who will co-own with Hornig Capital.
Now members of a band of the same name, the Raskins grew up in Bayside, Queens and received tennis scholarships to Florida State University after going through the Port Washington Tennis Academy scholarship program.
“We couldn’t afford to go to the academy and now it’s ours,” said Logan Raskin.
The Port Washington Tennis Academy’s 17 indoor tennis courts make it the largest facility of its kind on Long Island, said Claude Okin, president and chief executive officer of Kings Park-based Sportime Clubs.
Daren W. Hornig, managing partner of Hornig Capital Partners, said $5 to $7 million would be invested in the Port Washington facility, including computer systems, roof repairs and air conditioning. These renovations are expected to be completed by September 2023.
“The interior will be modernized and refreshed,” he said.
The acquisition comes at a time when tennis is enjoying a renaissance, at least in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Okin said.
“There’s a tennis boom the likes of which we haven’t seen since the late ’60s and ’70s,” he said.
The distance of the sport allows players to socialize even while maintaining social distance, Okin said. “Tennis is a way of being face-to-face with other players.”
Sportime began operating the Port Washington facility in July in anticipation of closing the transaction. Sportime now operates a total of 18 facilities including volleyball, summer camps and multisport facilities, as well as its main tennis clubs, the John McEnroe Tennis Academy and its non-profit arm, The Johnny Mac Tennis Project Inc.
The McEnroe Tennis Academy, which will operate at Sportime Randall’s Island and other facilities, is slated to open upon completion of renovations at the Port Washington facility.
The Johnny Mac Tennis Project Inc., overseen by John and Patrick McEnroe and supported by Sportime, will operate at the Port Washington facility in addition to its home on Randall’s Island. The 10-year non-profit organization that provides tennis scholarships and tuition defines its mission as “to remove the racial, economic and social barriers to success through tennis.”
Okin said that between travel, coaching and fitness programs, it can cost $50,000 a year to develop a top-notch tennis player by the age of 10 or 11.
Renovations at the Port Washington facility include eight new pickleball courts, which Okin described as the “fastest growing sport in the world.”
Pickleball is played with racquets on a 44 foot by 20 foot court, compared to the 78 foot by 36 foot dimensions of a tennis court. Pickleball players hit a plastic ball with holes, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net.
Sportime, which ranks as the largest operator of sports and tennis clubs in New York state, has staff numbers ranging from 500 to 900 full-time and part-time depending on the season, Okin said.