Bare Hills club brings $3.45 million at auction

Buyer vows to continue operating site as tennis and fitness center

Metro

News from around the Baltimore region

August 31, 2005|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A venerable Baltimore County tennis club whose players once included Pam Shriver went on the auction block yesterday, selling for $3.45 million to a Baltimore businessman who promised to continue operating it as a sport complex.

John W. "Jack" Dwyer, president of Capital Funding Group, a Canton-based financial company, bought the 4-acre property and Bare Hills Sportsplex at a foreclosure sale at Alex Cooper Auctioneers.

Dwyer's wife, Nancy, said she's played for 15 years at Bare Hills Sportsplex, formerly Bare Hills Tennis Club.

Dwyer said he might move his company, which finances the construction and operation of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, to the property off Falls Road. However, he said, the tennis club, fitness center and indoor arena will continue operating.

"Anything that keeps Bare Hills a tennis club is good news," said Shriver, who also practiced at Greenspring Racquet Club and Orchard Indoor Tennis Club, which she owned. "Bare Hills is one of the original indoor clubs. And there aren't enough of them in Baltimore."

Shriver, a Tennis Hall of Famer and Baltimore native, remembers losing a state 12-and-under championship at Bare Hills. She said the club also has a reputation for promoting and helping the sport to grow. "It's an important club," she said.

Bare Hills members - some of whom have been concerned about the future of the club - said they were glad to hear the club would remain open.

"I'm delighted to hear they want to keep it as a tennis club," said Johns Hopkins medical school professor Steve Goodman, who has been playing tennis at Bare Hills for about 10 years. "There is a community of players there."

The 38-year-old tennis club, which had expanded in recent years to include a fitness center and indoor arena, has more than 700 members, according to general manager Regina Roesner.

"It's a good location. It's a good club. It probably needs enhancing," Dwyer said, adding that he hopes to be able to keep the club's staff.

Dwyer outbid Louis Cohen, owner of BMW of Towson, who said after the auction that he likely would have used the 77,800-square-foot facility for storage.

Woodrow Powell, who headed Craigmont Ventures LLC, the partnership that bought the sports complex in 2003, said business has been good.

"We were just without the capital we needed," said Powell, a Community College of Baltimore County Essex Foundation member. "Members have been coming back. The arena's been booked. We hope the buyers are able to enhance it. It's a wonderful place."

Craigmont Ventures owed more than $2.6 million on its loan and for interest and late charges, according to a foreclosure action filed July 20 in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

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