$25m tennis centre brings luxury to big events

By Beck Vass

The new $25 million tennis complex is expected to boost the number of players in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
The new $25 million tennis complex is expected to boost the number of players in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

A $25 million tennis complex with a rooftop swimming pool, a lounge and a dining area from which spectators will be able to watch the court action will replace Auckland's ASB Tennis Centre.

The deal to build the multi-level venue was confirmed yesterday.

The complex will have spa and sauna rooms, three swimming pools and a hair and beauty salon.

The final stage of the project will include a $7 million sliding roof.

It is tipped to become a major drawcard for international tennis stars, and is expected to boost the number of players in Auckland.

This week's ASB Classic women's tournament and the men's Heineken Open next week will be the last tennis events in the present centre, built in the mid-1980s.

The NZ beach volleyball open, from January 19, will be the venue's last sporting fixture.

The new centre will be developed by Next Generation Clubs, which has four similar venues in Australia.

No Auckland City Council or Government money or loans will be used to develop the centre.

Tennis Auckland chairman Alan Chester said it had taken five years to secure the deal with Next Generation Clubs.

The association had needed the help of the Auckland City Council and local politicians to obtain legislation to ensure the site, on sensitive land at Auckland Domain, could be redeveloped, he said.

Speaking an hour after receiving the go-ahead yesterday, Mr Chester said he was ecstatic the plan had been confirmed.

Building would begin in March, and the new centre would be ready for next year's tournaments.

It would not be fully completed, but would be ready for the tournaments, needing only some finishing touches, he said.

"It sets up Tennis Auckland for many, many years to come. It's a world-class facility."

Next Generation Clubs describes the venue as a "home away from home" that would also have "the most comprehensive gym in New Zealand with $2 million state-of-the-art cardiovascular and weights equipment".

"It's not just a building," Mr Chester said. "It's stunning ... tennis in New Zealand has not seen anything like this before."

The main centre court would have the same layout as it does now, with new overhead shades, but the courts where qualifying matches were being played during the tournament would be moved apart and raised so a large carpark could be built beneath them.

The temporary Lufthansa stand would be made permanent.

The ASB Classic and Heineken Open were renowned internationally for their friendly atmosphere where players and international officials could mingle with spectators and that too would be retained, Mr Chester said.

"We don't lose that intimacy - that's been paramount from day one."

The new centre would have about 400 more seats than the present building, taking seating to about 3600.

* The new building's features

Rooftop swimming pool, 25m indoor swimming pool, children's pool.

Spa and sauna rooms.

$2 million gymnasium.

Licensed bar and sports cafe and juice bar.

Hair and beauty salon.

Lounge bar and outdoor terrace dining area.

Creche.

Conference rooms, 400-person function centre.

- NZ Herald

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