By Caroline Ryan & Maxime Devillaz
Co-Editor-in-Chief & Former Editor-in-Chief
Long Island University has agreed to purchase the Racquet Club at Old Westbury, a private 10 acre outdoor tennis membership club located at 24 Quail Run, adjacent to the LIU Post football field. The Racquet Club consists of outdoor clay tennis courts, miniature golf courses, baseball batting ranges, driving ranges and archery, according to Nassau County land records. The property, which is at the end of a cul-de-sac, and also consists of a club house, does not appear to be currently in use. Calls to the Racquet Club’s telephone number were not returned.
According to Multiple Listing Service, the property was sold on Jan. 1, 2017 for $4.2 million. Joseph Schaefer, LIU’s Chief of Administration and Student Affairs, confirmed the property purchase. “A thriving University is constantly looking for growth opportunities to invest in the future and provide more programs for students, which is why LIU Post purchased the Racquet Club,” Schaefer said in an email responding to the Pioneer’s inquiries. “There are very few opportunities for LIU Post to expand our footprint and this acquisition is a clear demonstration that the University is thriving, growing and investing in its future,” he added.
An entity called LIU Tennis Inc. was incorporated to buy the Westbury Tennis Club as of June 10, 2016, according to NYS Division of Corporations records. The state records indicate that LIU Tennis Inc. is a not for profit corporation, which means it has met tax-exempt requirements. According to the records, LIU Tennis Inc. was incorporated by Albanese & Albanese LLP, a law firm in Garden City.
Schaefer discussed the purchase in a Dec. 2, 2016 meeting with the Pioneer’s former editor-in-chief Maxime Devillaz, “The tennis club is contiguous to campus, and while the deal isn’t closed, its relative location by the athletics will likely have an athletics focus,” he said at that meeting.
“Purchasing [the tennis club] should be seen as something encouraging. It means the university is healthy, it means growth,” Christopher Fevola, LIU’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, stated at the same meeting.
The university has not issued an announcement about the purchase yet. “We are very excited about this new opportunity which will support student academic programs such as our Sports Management minor as well as Varsity Tennis,” Schaefer said. “The facility will also be available for intramural and other student activities. We are currently working to make this facility available to students, and we are planning a formal announcement closer to its available use by students,” he added.
Walter Giacometti, head coach of the women’s tennis team at Post, stated that the team has not used the tennis courts at the Racquet Club at Old Westbury in the past. “We have not used the courts at all since we have six courts already on our campus. It would not be a good fit for us to use the courts for the women’s team since the courts are clay courts, which are a different surface than the hard courts we use for all our matches,” Giacometti said.
Tennis team member Meagan Byrne, a junior business marketing major, said that while they have never played on the courts at the tennis club, it would be nice to have another place to practice if we ever needed it.”
The Pioneer filed a Freedom of Information Law request for records related to the Racquet Club at Old Westbury, but current records relating to the sale of the property were not yet on file with the Nassau County Clerk.