Kriek Plans LWR Sports Club/Academy

Lakewood Ranch developers hope to turn this region to a home base for tomorrow’s athletic stars. Plans for the $110-million Springbok Sports Club and Academy were unveiled at a special event Thursday morning.

The University Parkway facility would house tennis, golf, swimming and gymnastics academies, for use primarily by aspiring athletes paying tuition of $25,000 to $40,000 to train most of the year. Tennis champion Johan Kriek and golf pro Rick Smith are both attached to the effort, and talks with an undisclosed swimming gold medalist are underway. Iowa Sports Management would run the facility.

“This will be unique in the world of sports,” Kriek said. “This is the start of a second dream in tennis for me.”

The facility is expected to open in 2010, though developers acknowledged a challenging financing environment. Corvus International CEO Tim Morris said the development should handle 2,500 members at first, and eventually handle about 5,000 including family members. Swimming, baseball and bowling facilities are planned on the site.

A health club associated with the project would be useable by the local population. London Bay Homes is also affiliated with the effort and hopes to attract families of the athletes to move here. A 500-bed dorm is also planned.