SIERRA VISTA — The city has finally sold King’s Court, the sprawling but decaying tennis complex that was donated to Sierra Vista in 2012 and has been for sale since 2016.
The property, sold to a Canadian tennis pro, went for half a million dollars, an amount that will be paid to the city over a 10-year period, documents show.
The future owner, Alastair Millar, plans to rename the complex “The Supreme Court, Sierra Vista,” after his own business in Canada.
Millar could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, but in a statement to city officials he said his intentions for King’s Court include tennis and pickleball.
In a phone call made by Sierra Vista Economic Development Director Tony Boone to Millar on Tuesday during the City Council’s work session, Millar expressed excitement about Sierra Vista and King’s Court.
“I fell in love with the city,” Millar said in the brief call. “We’re super excited and thank you for the opportunity.”
From the dais, Mayor Rick Mueller told Millar that city officials are looking forward to working with him and bringing tennis to the forefront in the city.
On Thursday afternoon at their regular City Council meeting, the panel is expected to pass a resolution ratifying the sale of the property, which includes 12 tennis courts — only six are currently in playable condition — 7,206 square feet of structures and a pool. The complex is on Kings Court Drive just off East Busby Drive.
Boone told council members that Millar’s company began talking with the city in March. The offer to buy King’s Court came on May 17 for $500,000. The city was asking $525,000, Assistant City Manager Victoria Yarbrough said recently.
The property was donated to Sierra Vista in 2012 by former owner Bill McCormick. Since then there have been myriad discussions and much hand-wringing over what to do with the complex, especially from members of the tennis community who wanted the courts saved.
City officials decided to sell King’s Court after performing an architectural assessment in 2012 and discovering there were too many costly issues with the property’s buildings, Yarbrough said.
The city attempted to lease out the complex in 2013 and beyond, but there were no takers. Because the property at the time was worth more than $500,000, city officials had to obtain the vote of its residents to put it on the market.
Yarbrough said that approval came just in time for the 2014 election. The property was then put on the market.
Only one company, Pacific American Development LLC, put in a bid, which was valued at $585,000. Their plan was to build apartments and convert six tennis courts into a city park. Pan American also planned to revamp the remaining courts, build a shaded playground and bleachers and improve the landscaping. The upgrades would also include a new staff facility and public restrooms. The developer would have bought 2.91 acres of land, which included the King’s Court buildings and five unused tennis courts on the property’s north side.
That deal collapsed in 2016.
At the time, city officials said the developers cited several concerns, such as increasing construction costs and stagnant rent in Sierra Vista, a gap between the estimated cost of the project and potential revenue that couldn’t be lowered by reducing product cost or raising rent, and issues with infrastructure improvement requirements on the land to the north and in other areas.
When McCormick donated King’s Court to Sierra Vista on Sept. 1, 2012, the property was assessed at $803,532.
In a written statement to the city earlier this week, Millar said when he visited the property he saw “potential.”
But Millar said he also knows there’s work to be done.
“We won’t beat around the bush, the overall renovation and eventual revitalization of the former King’s Club Tennis Club is a tall task,” he said in the statement. “Although the site is brimming with potential it is not without its challenges that we are attempting to be diligent in addressing, assessing and projecting into the the future.”
“It is our feeling at The Supreme Court that we are the right organization for a project like this, as we have had great success in the past in revamping and growing underutilized tennis facilities in North America. It is clear to us that both our parties share a mutual interest in the long-term success and growth of the former King’s Court facility as it has meant a great deal to residents in the past.
“We are thoroughly looking forward to the prospect of enhancing tennis and pickleball in Sierra Vista. There is so much to be encouraged by and so much potential for racquet sports in Cochise County.”
According to his website ELEV8ED, Millar is a tennis pro and coach, and one of 25 Tennis Canada Club Professional 3 coaches in the country. He is certified as a tennis professional by the United States Professional Tennis Registry and holds certifications for wheelchair tennis and cardio tennis.
Millar has been the owner and director of The Supreme Court since the business began in 2014, the website says.