Luxury Homes with Private Sports Facilities
By NANCY KEATES
A HOME GYM used to mean some weights in the garage. Now it could be an indoor basketball court.
High-end homes are sporting an Olympic-array of facilities: from full-size gyms to baseball pitching ranges, badminton and volleyball areas, and stand-alone squash and racquetball courts. On the extreme end are indoor lacrosse turfs, wrestling rings and hockey rinks.
In Palm Beach, Fla., builder Terry Cudmore has just finished a replica of the Miami Heat’s home court at AmericanAirlines Arena. While it boasts fewer seats than the real thing, the million-dollar project is emblazoned with the team’s logo and signage and includes a professional-quality floor, scoreboard and sound system. The family’s son uses it to practice basketball. In Kansas City, Mo., Cory Childress at Evan-Talan Homes is working on a home court with three basketball hoops, a soccer net, bleachers, a locker room and a bath with steam shower. In Telluride, Colo., the estate of Timothy Boberg and Roxanne Pulitzer includes, among other sporting amenities, a two-lane, 100-foot-long, computer-controlled indoor shooting range. That property is on the market asking $18.5 million.
“It’s picked up dramatically,” says Dave VanderVeen of WeBuildSports.com, which builds home gymnasiums and backyard courts in the Chicago area. Mr. VanderVeen says he used to install two or three indoor sports rooms a year, ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet and costing $10,000 to $70,000. This past year he has been asked to give quotes for 25 projects and built about 11, the vast majority of which were in newly constructed homes, including a $170,000 job that had a full-size baseball pitching range and a gymnastics room. Gordon Anderson, whose Buffalo, N.Y.-based Anderson Courts and Sports Surfaces specializes in basketball, squash and racquetball courts, put squash courts in 12 private homes this past year—double his business four years ago—for budgets ranging from $35,000 to $70,000.
Connor Sport Court, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based global company that installs gyms for professional teams and private residences, held a focus group a few years ago to figure out why people were asking for more indoor courts at home.
The answer was twofold: a desire for a safe place where kids and parents could play, and a hope that increasing access to sports at home would help their kids athletically, and thereby socially, says CEO Ron Cerny. “Every parent sees their kid as a pro ballplayer,” adds Rolf Zimmermann, who sells equipment for Carmel, N.Y.-based Eastern Jungle Gym, which started with backyard swing sets but has diversified into indoor basketball courts because of demand.
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