What to do with Old Tennis Courts

26 Replies

I recently bought a 550+ unit deal and we have 4 tennis courts that haven't been used in probably 10+ years.

As you can see here the courts are significantly deteriorated. 

The cost to demo is HUGE since the location of the tennis courts, dump trucks or heavy machinery can't get too.

Love to get your thoughts.

Been thinking dog park, exercise area and running track, soccer field, etc. 

Challenge is the surface needs to be addressed.

Hi @Brian Adams , this is definitely a challenge!  I agree you should go the tenant-amenity route; if you have a 20's-30's demographic, maybe a beer garden / pop-up bar?  If you can't skim the concrete, throw some pavers, cheap furniture and string lights up?

what about artificial turf (no idea of the cost)?

@Matt K. good thought, I also don't know the cost of turf and will have my property management company look into it.

Originally posted by @Brian Adams :

@Matt K. good thought, I also don't know the cost of turf and will have my property management company look into it.

 I know around here there are places that will provide it cheap, they are the ones who replace sports fields. Wonder if you could reach out to one of those companies and get an entire filed cheap?

@Matt K.  thanks again for the suggestion, I have a company lined up to look at the tennis courts.

I love the idea of a dog park. You probably already have the fencing, the asphalt could be used as a hose down surface. All you would need is a pergola and a picnic table for dog owners to chat while Fido plays, and a trash recepticle for poop.

@Brian Adams What's the demographic of the residents and what amenities do you already have?

Dog park or exercise area would be my first thought. Here are a couple other ideas: outdoor game area (cornhole, oversize jenga, ping pong tables, etc.), firepit and lounge

@John Casmon appreciate you responding.

Some of the amenities at the asset, indoor playground, outdoor pool, fitness center, biz center, playground - although dated, rec room with pool table. 

For demographic, dog park/exercise area could be the best option and will discuss your other ideas with my management team to gather their feedback.

@Brian Adams You could also conduct a survey with your residents to see what they really want once you narrow it down to some ideas that would be feasible for you. This not only would help you ensure you build out something they really want, but also help build a relationship with your current residents. 

@Jay Patel we have attempted to do surveys before on properties, one deal a 209 unit asset, we got 6 people who responded.

What we do when a resident stops in the office, we have our staff ask the resident what is important to them. Been getting good feedback.

@Brian Adams

What about a putting greens or basketball courts and playground areas.  I like the idea of using field turf to create the space. Because you have the asphalt paving there will save you some money.  For budget, I looked up in RS Means Book and it runs anywhere from $13 - 25 per sq ft for turf only.   Depending on how elaborate you go, you could transform these spaces for around $50-75 per sf.

Here is a link to a mfr, no experience with them.

http://synthetic-turf.com/

http://www.4specs.com/s/12/12-0530.html

Seal coat and extra parking ?

@Thomas Hickey good thought and we have adequate parking for our residents.

Even if we did need additional parking, it seems like the tennis courts were installed and the buildings were built around it. Only access to the courts is a sidewalk.

If the buildings are in such close proximity to the tennis courts I would be very hesitant to put any kind of entertainment in courtyard because of noise issues I would simply rip it out and loom it. Dog parks beer gardens play grounds etc. could get very annoying for your leasing staff

@Thomas Hickey the tennis courts are situated far enough from buildings that noise would not be a factor.

Here is a google aerial view, only way to access courts is sidewalk

Makes no difference what you choose to do it will ultimately be a waste of money. Tenants will never use it regardless of the purpose. If it doesn't make money to change it you leave it the way it is, it's been fine thus far and will be fine the way it is indefinitely.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

@Thomas S. thanks for sharing your perspective. 

Agree that if an ROI can't be achieved, why spend the money.

However, disagree from a resident perception, if management doesn't care about the exterior such as a dilapidated tennis court, why should the resident care about taking care of their own unit.

What about storage units.  The field seems out of the way.  I don't know what the competition would be for storage in Glen Mills (Assuming that is where the property is) but if you could put a small access road to the area it looks like there is plenty of room to place a good number of storage units.  There is good tree coverage so they would not be an eye sore to your tenants and could be an asset to them.  They could be a good investment as well, they are relatively inexpensive based on the return.  Might be worth looking into.  Units are basically plug and play.  There are several companies that do it, here is one. http://www.trachte.com/products/micro-units/  This would likely only be a good option if you have a good amount of tenants that could use storage space so I would recommend some sort of survey, even if you had your management company do a door to door survey, not just simply a mailer (since you didn't seem to get a good response from that).  

@Brian Adams here's several ideas.

First the crazy one... work with Amazon to establish a drone delivery site to service all surrounding buildings.  Put turf down and whatever else Amazon would need to facilitate drone deliveries.  Maybe Amazon would even pay for it.  Quite crazy, I know.  But how cool would that be!

Here's a (little) less crazy one... partner with a local day care provider.  You provide the pre-fenced in land and they install a little structure and equipment and then pay you a fee to run a little day care on the site.  Just a little less crazy, I know.  But still pretty cool.

And the more pragmatic one... bring in a bunch of wood chips (via skid steer loader... more nimble than a dump truck) and build a big playground.

Best of luck!

"However, disagree from a resident perception"

Doubtful the courts are impacting tenant attitudes as they likely do not ever bother going into that area but if that is how you feel the best option is to simply remove the courts and grow grass. 

The thing with apartment tenants is that they are very rarely engaged in their surroundings or community. They generally come and go remaining primarily inside their units when they are there. Investing in outside amenities is usually something that tenants will never use. As a example tennis courts. They were left to deteriorate because they were likely never used.

Owners often try to improve the property with upgrades without understanding that the vast majority of residents very rarely venture outside except to leave the property.

@Michael Badin this asset is located in Atlanta, GA and the potential problem for the storage facility is the access road.

@Chris Jensen some really cool ideas. Will discuss with my management company.

Great question. Gazebo or storage shed to move your staff stuff there. Hopefully freeing up another unit.

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