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U.S. Tennis Association to build $60 mln, 100-court complex in Florida

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - The United States Tennis Association announced on Wednesday plans to build a $60 million state-of-the-art "new home for American tennis" in Orlando, Florida.

"There isn't a facility like this in the world," said USTA board chairman and president Dave Haggerty during a media conference call.

The 63-acre complex, which is scheduled to break ground this fall and open in late 2016, will become the USTA's first year-round outdoor training facility.

The complex will include more than 100 red and green clay courts, hard courts, indoor courts and a collegiate tournament show court.

Children and adults working to develop their game will be accommodated, as well as professionals. Dormitories will be onsite to house up to 32 boys and girls.

"We see this as a really inclusive area where touring professionals will be able to come, we'll be able to have top players bring their personal coaches and work alongside our player development team," Haggerty said.  

The USTA expects to move about 150 jobs to Orlando, including its player development division which will relocate its national headquarters from Boca Raton.

The USTA was enticed to the area in part by a long-term, $1-a-year lease to the property in the Lake Nona section of Orlando which is being developed by the Tavistock Group.

Tavistock senior managing director Rasesh Thakkar said the USTA complex is intended to anchor a planned sports and human performance cluster of businesses focused on such fields as injury prevention, competitive psychology, and training best practices.

Thakkar said the sports cluster could enhance Lake Nona's 9-year-old Medical City, a fast-growing cluster of life science business anchored by the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research which also includes the University of Central Florida medical school, two hospitals and other research facilities.

Haggerty likened the potential sports cluster surrounding the tennis complex to the business attracted to Park City, Utah, by skiers and snowboarders.

"There could be that same sort of synergy that could happen here where tennis is developed," Haggerty said. "There are lots of possibilities."

(Editing by Kevin Gray, Bernard Orr)

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