Thursday, October 03, 2002

Tennis tourney pays big price for site


Lindner gets double the appraised value

By Cindi Andrews candrews@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON - Organizers of Mason's international Tennis Masters Series tournament have agreed to Carl Lindner's $16.5 million asking price for the ATP Tennis Center, tournament chairman Paul Flory said Wednesday.

        But the price - double the site's appraised value - could delay improvements to the Tennis Center, where the top male players converge each August to compete for $2.95 million in one of nine Masters-level events worldwide.

        “The more (Mr. Flory) has to spend for the land, the less that he's going to be able to spend on improvements to stay at the standard that he has set, which is a world-class event,” said J. Wayne Richmond, the ATP Tour's executive vice president for the Americas.

        Tennis for Charity Inc., the nonprofit that runs the Western & Southern Financial Masters, has been negotiating with Mr. Lindner's American Financial Group for years to buy the site, which it has leased since 1979. An appraisal in 2001 put the center's market value at about $7.8 million.

        Near Paramount's Kings Island, the 90-acre spread includes three stadiums. Conceptual drawings show a new center court, more box seats, and a women's locker room.

        Buying the center could help Mr. Flory land a women's event because it ensures the tournament long-term. But the facilities would have to be expanded first.



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