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SBJ/April 9 - 15, 2001/No Topic Name
City in running for Sanex WTA HQ
Published April 9, 2001
Charleston could soon become quite the women's tennis capital, and not just because of next week's Family Circle Cup in the new Tennis Centre at Daniel Island.
The Sanex WTA Tour, the governing body of women's tennis, is considering relocating to the South Carolina city by the end of next year.
A decision is not expected until July at the earliest, but the tour is almost certainly moving its executive offices from its current home in Stamford, Conn.
"We are very unlikely to remain in Stamford," said Josh Ripple, the WTA's senior vice president of tournament relations and administration. "We want to see if there is a market that wants to be known as the official home of the Sanex WTA Tour. We have started talks with different people and will continue to do so. Charleston, S.C., is one of the groups.
"Charleston is a market that is looking for groups like ours."
Ernest Andrade, the city's assistant director of the department of economic development, had little to say about the negotiations, except that Charleston would be "honored to host the tour."
On March 6 and 7, tour chief executive Bart McGuire and Ripple met with South Carolina and Charleston officials, including Mayor Joseph Riley.
"We have had some serious talks," McGuire said. "We would like to consolidate our offices in one U.S. location."
The tour's executive operations, consisting of 16 employees, are in Stamford. Another 20 people are in an office in St. Petersburg, Fla., which is also a candidate to house the consolidated operations. The St. Pete employees include the tour's sports medicine and sciences personnel. Combined, the two offices occupy 13,000 square feet.
Ripple would not comment on other cities being considered, except to say that some were in other parts of Florida. Wherever the tour moves, "there would have to be [relocation] incentives," Ripple added.
The St. Pete office also would be shuttered in any move, assuming that city does not house the new, centralized space.
If the tour leaves Connecticut, Ripple said, it would likely open a sales and communications office in New York City.