Indoor tennis, anyone? Billionaire developer sees a need in West Palm

11:06 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 Local
Jeff Greene (Bruce R. Bennett / Palm Beach Post)

When his kids needed a school, he built a school.

Now developer Jeff Greene wants to play tennis out of the heat and wind, so he plans to build an indoor tennis and health club next to the Greene School.

It’s still in the planning stages, and Greene’s M-O is to sit on land a long time before building but tennis is a big motivator. He’s even talked to Venus Williams about designing it, he said. The ball’s in her court.

Greene and his wife, Mei Sze, opened their private, pre-K to 6th grade school at 2001 S. Dixie Highway in 2016, with a focus on innovative learning. He already has a construction crew expanding it, with a 50,000-square-foot expansion that will include a basketball court, video and media production studio and library, to make room for the 7th grade class set to start this fall, and an 8th grade class the following year.

The school sits just east of the Florida East Coast railway tracks. Just across the tracks, on both sides of Biscayne Drive, Greene has about two acres of additional parcels that he bought for about $1.2 million in 2016. He also has asked to buy a section of a dead end there, to give him more room.

It’s in that area where he’d like to put the tennis/health club. The indoor tennis facility wouldn’t be for the school, though he can imagine students going there for an hour for a tennis class. Mainly it would be for people like him, who would like a place to play out of the heat, wind and rain. There are few, if any, indoor courts in the area, he said.

As ever, he can’t be pinned to a schedule for the project. It has barely been sketched out, he said.

In any event, he has other projects on his hands, in addition to the school expansion, chief among them One West Palm, a $250 million, two-tower complex of offices, hotel suites and apartments at 550 Quadrille Blvd., where he hopes to break ground this spring. He’s tweaking that design so more of its hotel suites can be converted to apartments, since there are so many competing hotels on the way.

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach billionaire heads off to Davos, Switzerland next week for the World Economic Forum. He has lunches set up with some of the usual suspects, he said: Philanthropist Bill Gates, British former Prime Minister Tony Blair and a passel of Wall Street chairmen.