The one-time SF Bay Tennis Club has been razed to the ground, and after a new developer promised and then backed out of a promise to put tennis courts on their forthcoming project, the SF Planning Commission approved the no-tennis-court version Thursday.

The corner of Fifth and Brannan Streets had long been the home of the SF Bay Tennis Club, which featured both indoor and outdoor tennis courts. But the site was sold nearly ten years ago to SoCal-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities, who promised to replace it with two high-rise office buildings with life science labs, light-industrial space, and retail outlets. Plus they made the magnanimous offer to add “12 indoor tennis courts below ground as a replacement for the San Francisco Tennis Club.” And they made this generous offer because a 2015 lawsuit from tennis players forced them to.

Image: Google Street View

The building has long been razed, and above we see what it looks like now. But the legal battle over the tennis courts has been volleying for years. After anchor tenant Pinterest backed out of the new office complex, Alexandria removed the tennis courts from the ambitious project.

Undaunted tennis fans were not Wimble-done. They won their case at the SF Board of Appeals in December 2021, and then sued the developer last August in hopes of keeping the courts. That lawsuit came to an amicable conclusion, or amicable for the tennis players at least, as Alexandria Real Estate agreed to pay a $7.5 million settlement to get out of the tennis court obligation.

And so the new plan with no tennis courts went before the SF Planning Commission Thursday. An attorney for Alexandria told the commission, “We are seeking to make no change to this project other than to remove the underground private tennis club that was to be built on this site.”

That was good enough for the commissioners, who approved the revised project unanimously. According to the developer's revised application, those basement tennis courts will now instead be “off-street parking and [a] public recreation facility with two pools.”

Related: Tennis Enthusiasts Serve a Lawsuit To Block Sale of SoMa Property That Had Promised Them Tennis Courts [SFist]

Photo courtesy of The Bay Club