The Colony, From Tennis Paradise To Ghost Resort
You’ve heard of The Colony. It’s the famous tennis resort on Longboat Key in Florida. Nick Bollettieri started his first academy there in the 1970s. U.S. Presidents, foreign dignataries, world famous movie stars and sports celebrities have stayed there. Big time tennis champions have played exhibitions on the main show court adjacent to the hotel complex. Tennis Magazine hailed The Colony as the #1 tennis resort in the USA seemingly every year.
I played a few pick-up matches there with guests in the 2000s and the great Bud Collins, a frequent guest, even watched us play doubles once.
But The Colony closed in August 2010 after over 40 years of successful operation. Now the 18-acre tract of prime real estate sits barren and unkept, like a ghost town of the wild west. Weeds grow as high as your belt on the har-tru courts. Shutters are dangling off some units. An owl sits on a perch, observing for prey. Browned tennis balls are stuck in the fence above the hitting wall. There’s no sounds of life or court action except for the ocean breeze or some gulls that fly by.
But there remains hope the resort will open again. Outside investment money is needed. Lots of it.
The Colony Association of Unit Owners control the property now after previous owner and founder Murf Klauber’s bankruptcy and any attempt to perform construction, renovation or demolition will require written consent by the Colony Association.
But looking at the badly deteriorated condition of the once pristine property indicates a complete demolition and overhaul is the only way to salvage the resort. And that will require a gigantic cash influx.