Western & Southern Open: Charlotte City Council approves $65M to build tennis complex

Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 12:21 PM EDT
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Video from previous coverage above

MASON, Ohio (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) - City council members in Charlotte, North Carolina, voted Monday to move forward with a proposed $400 million, 40-court tennis complex that could become the new home of the Western & Southern Open.

Taxpayers would fund around $130 million of the project, and the Charlotte City Council voted unanimously to start negotiations with tournament owner Beemok Capital during a Monday meeting livestreamed on Facebook. The council also voted to allocate its $65 million portion of the funding toward the project.

The possibility that the tennis tournament could leave Cincinnati, its home for more than a century, arose after Beemok Capital, a company owned by South Carolina billionaire Ben Navarro, bought the tournament from the United States Tennis Association last August.

Beemok Capital would fund the rest of the 53-acre complex. The company’s decision about whether the tournament will be relocated is expected to come this summer. If it moves, the first tournament in Charlotte would be held in 2026.

Earlier this month, Mason City Council approved $15 million in improvements to the Lindner Family Tennis Center, where it has been played since 1979, to try to keep the tournament. The Ohio House of Representatives also added $22.5 million to the state budget to expand and renovate the Mason tennis complex.

Charlotte’s proposed tennis complex would be part of an upcoming residential and commercial area called the River District.

The Western & Southern Open was first played at the current site of Xavier University in 1899. The event, which draws hundreds of thousands of fans and tennis stars like Venus and Serena Williams and Roger Federer, is the country’s longest-running professional tennis tournament played in its original city.