FarmingtonApril 09, 2013
Farmington Tennis Club shuts down abruptly
County said club owes about $123,000 in back taxes
By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer
The Farmington Tennis Club Sign reads “Thanks for the memories …” on April 1 as staff and members alike arrived to the long-standing tennis club for their daily routine.
FARMINGTON — When employees and members arrived at the Farmington Tennis Club April 1, some may have thought a cruel April Fools joke was being played on them.
Without any prior announcement, the club at 22777 Farmington Road had closed its doors for business. The sign near the road read “Thanks for the memories …”
The club had been open for several decades, sporting seven indoor tennis courts used by regional tennis players. Patrons were still driving through the club parking lot April 4 trying to figure out what was happening.
Calls to the club rang continuously without an answering system, emails to the club’s email address bounced back as undelivered and the owner’s personal home number in West Bloomfield was disconnected, leaving patrons and municipal officials with more questions than answers.
“We did not hear anything from the club prior to their closing,” said Kevin Christiansen, the city’s economic and community development director. “We were made aware Monday. We’ve heard nothing from the owners. I guess we’ll just wait and see what they’re doing.”
Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner said his office found out about the closure when everyone else did, and posted a seizure notice April 2 as a response.
“They had some delinquent personal property taxes,” Meisner said. “We also received word that there may have been trucks removing personal property from the club. We posted a seizure notice and are in the process of checking out the personal property. We had made multiple attempts to contact them and were unsuccessful.”
The club owed $5,000-$6,000 in personal property taxes, Meisner said, which the county will be assessing the value of and attempting to sell in the next couple of weeks.
Additionally, Meisner said the club owed a substantially larger amount of delinquent real property taxes, including $58,000 from 2011 and $60,000 from 2012.
“We sympathize with them and certainly hope they do their members right,” Meisner said of reimbursing recently purchased memberships. “It’s really a shame, and I hope they work it out and pay that tab so it’s not passed on to the taxpayers. If those 2011 taxes go unpaid, we would take the building next March 31.”
If the county were to take ownership of the building in March 2014, Meisner said the county would offer the building to the city for purchase first, then to state, and then auction it off to the public in August 2014.
“I think the city would be interested in any discussion about the future use of the site,” Christiansen said. “There is a master plan for the city of Farmington that includes all properties in the city of Farmington.”
Christiansen said the property was planned for office use, which includes the current tennis club use, in the city’s July 2009 master plan. He said the club is zoned for office use.
Whether the club is up for sale, simply renovating its interior or any other similar situation was not known to either Meisner or Christiansen immediately following the closure.