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Queens legislators said they plan to send a letter to the city Landmark Preservation Commission asking officials from the commission to discuss with them the possibility of landmarking the West Side Tennis Club’s stadium that is currently for sale.
City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) said last week they are not sending the letter to promote landmarking the iconic structure but rather to encourage city officials to meet with them and representatives from the tennis club to discuss options on the table for the stadium.
“We want to sit down and talk to the people involved in this,” Koslowitz said. “We’re not calling for landmarking — we just want to talk about the feasibility of landmarking.”
The West Side Tennis Club did not return a request for comment, but elected officials said the club members were expected to vote on the sale next Thursday. A spokeswoman for Cord Meyer, a Forest Hills-based development company, said it is interested in purchasing the stadium property that has not been used for the past 17 years.
“My colleagues and I want to ensure that the whole community — and not just club members — have some say on the fate of this significant piece of our neighborhood,” Weiner said in reference to the letter.
The elected officials said a number of residents living near the stadium have said they are worried about the sale of the stadium. Residents have cited concerns about overdevelopment in the area, Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said.
“People are upset,” Stavisky said. “They don’t know what’s going to happen there.”
Cord Meyer, which owned the land the stadium is on back in the early 1900s, was expected to present plans for the stadium at a meeting for club members this week. The public was not invited to the meeting.
“Cord Meyer is definitely interested,” a spokeswoman for the development company said. “Cord Meyer has an incredibly rich history in Queens.”
If a developer does purchase the land, officials have said whatever is built would likely not be out of character with the neighborhood because of the R3-2 zoning regulations — the lowest density zone in which multiple dwellings are allowed.
The stadium housed the US Open for more than 60 years until the late 1970s, after which there was a regularly held corporate-sponsored tennis tournament throughout the 1980s.
Besides hosting tennis matches, the stadium had been the site of a number of concerts, drawing The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Portions of the 2001 film “The Royal Tenenbaums” was filmed there.
The tennis club was founded at the end of the 19th century and the 15,000-seat stadium began hosting the US Open around 1915. The stadium became too small for the US Open, so the event moved to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the late 1970s.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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