Tennis club to reopen

Sale of Mystic facility waits on court approval

Mystic Indoor Tennis, which closed during August in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, will reopen Sept. 2, according to Lex Kessler, owner of the club's management firm.

Kessler confirmed that he signed an agreement to sell the business to Mystic businessman Matt McCormack, but said this week that a bankruptcy court still needs to approve the deal and give other potential buyers the chance to make a higher offer. In the meanwhile, he said, the club would continue under his management.

Kessler, owner of the management firm Danbury Sports LLC, said it was unlikely that McCormack would be able to take control of the club in September or October, so he wanted to ensure that tennis players would be able to continue using the club.

Though a notice went out from the club in July announcing Mystic Indoor Tennis's closing in August and stating "it's hard to see the end of our tennis club come," Kessler said the intention was to close for only one month - a time when there is not much activity because most people are playing outdoors.

Kessler said the same management and teaching team, led by former Stonington High School coach George Crouse, would be available for tennis instruction starting in September.

McCormack, owner of the New London technology firm QDiscovery, had said he hopes to take over the club within the next two months, planning to retain and update the tennis facility while adding a new multi-use sports facility and modern clubhouse.

A bankruptcy hearing Sept. 18 in New York is scheduled to determine the future of the club's real estate, which is controlled by another Kessler-owned firm, Swoosh LP. Swoosh owes JPMorgan Chase nearly $900,000, according to bankruptcy filings, and the Town of Groton is owed back taxes of about $150,000.

Chase has filed a motion to remove Kessler as debtor in possession of the tennis facility, claiming that "without immediate sale the property will lose its members and, consequently, its value."

Chase's motion stated that "the only impediment to a prompt consummation of the sale appears to be Mr. Kessler's misguided belief that he could find a better deal somewhere else."

l.howard@theday.com
Twitter: @KingstonLeeHow

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