An international tennis tournament could be the centerpiece for Charlotte’s long-planned River District development on the Catawba River.

City Council members on Monday approved $65 million to help fund a new tennis complex and bring the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament to the Queen City. Council members also set aside $30 million for a project at the city-owned Eastland site in East Charlotte.

Funding for both projects comes from the Convention Center Tax Fund.

What You Need To Know

  •  The Charlotte City Council voted to approve $65 million for a tennis complex at the River District development on the Catawba River

  •  The tennis complex includes a deal to bring a major tennis tournament to Charlotte, the Western & Southern Open

  •  Council members also set aside $30 million for development at the Eastland site, though they are still trying to decide on which project to approve

  • The Eastland site has sat vacant for a decade, but work has begun on part of the site for a residential and office space development


River District

Work is continuing at the 1,400-acre River District site with plans for more than 4,600 homes and apartments, and 8 million square feet of office space.

The tennis complex deal is with Beemok Sports, which bought the Western & Southern Open and plans to move the tournament to Charlotte.

“The partnership with Beemok is a once in a generation opportunity, not only to solidify Charlotte’s reputation as a true sports city but also to grow our city’s economy with a substantial number of jobs and much-needed revenue for our travel and tourism industries,” Councilor Malcolm Graham said Monday.

The tournament has been played in Cincinnati, Ohio, since its founding in 1899. Cincinnati is also known to locals there as the “Queen City.” The tournament attracts top players from around the world each year.

In the agreement with the city, Beemok will build a “world-class tennis campus” at the River District. The complex will include four major stadiums, a 14,000-seat center court facility, at least 40 courts for tennis and pickleball, and a 45,000-square-foot building.

The plans also include 10,000 parking spaces that would be required for the annual tournament.

The total cost estimate is about $400 million for the tennis complex. The agreement means the tournament would operate in Charlotte for at least 25 years.

Graham said the tennis tournament would put Charlotte in the same league as “Rome, Madrid, Shanghai, Paris, Los Angeles, Miami, Monte Carlo and Montreal.”

Council members said the tennis complex would have more than $300 million in economic impact for the city. It would also bring in more than $40 million in tax revenue a year for state and local governments, according to council member Tariq Bokhari.

He said more than $4 million of that would go to the city each year.

Members of the city council voted unanimously to approve the funding for the tennis complex.



The 80-acre site of the former Eastland Mall in East Charlotte has sat vacant for a decade. The city council set aside $30 million to support a new project on the site.

“I’m happy to see that we are making a commitment to East Charlotte, to say that we are going to do our part,” said council member Marjorie Molina, who represents that part of Charlotte.

“We’re doing something amazing tonight to protect the funds that are meant for East Charlotte,” she said.

Members of the Charlotte City Council have worked for years trying to figure out what to do about 30 acres of city-owned land at the site. A developer is already working on a big housing and office space project on the vacant land.

David Tepper, owner of Charlotte FC, had planned to build a soccer training facility on the land, but pulled out of the deal last year.

The city is now considering two options for its portion of the site. The first is a 115,000-square-foot indoor sports complex with basketball courts that can also be used as pickleball and volleyball courts. It would also house a Carolina sports hall of fame and could include more mixed-use development.

Charlotte-based Synergy Sports would lease the land from the city for $1 a year.

The other option is for an athletic, event and e-sports facility, with space for 2,500 people. Southern Entertainment would buy the land from the city for market value.

Southern Entertainment is a Charlotte-based company that runs the Carolina Esports Hub and Charlotte Soccer Academy. It also puts on the annual Carolina Country Music Festival in Myrtle Beach.