Saddlebrook Resort, Pasco’s celebrated tennis mecca, sold to Miami investors

Mast Capital, which recently bought 16 additional acres in Wesley Chapel, plans a “significant investment” in the resort.
The 480-acre Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel has been sold to a Miami real estate investor for an undisclosed sum.
The 480-acre Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel has been sold to a Miami real estate investor for an undisclosed sum. [ Mast Capital ]
Published Mar. 4, 2022|Updated Mar. 4, 2022

Saddlebrook Resort, the 480-acre Wesley Chapel getaway renowned for its world-class tennis facilities, has been sold.

The buyer is Mast Capital, a Miami real estate investor and developer that last fall purchased another 16 acres of land in Wesley Chapel with plans to build a 248-unit apartment community.

Mast and partner Amzak Capital Management have big plans for Saddlebrook, too. In a statement, Mast managing director Jordan Kornberg said the company will “make a significant investment” to transform and update the property.

“We recognize both the potential and the iconic status of this property, which is where some of the world’s most renowned tennis players trained,” Kornberg said in a statement. “This closing represents our largest acquisition to date in the Tampa market and our continued investment in the Wesley Chapel area.”

Financial terms of the deal not disclosed. The Pasco County clerk’s office had not recorded a deed of sale by late Thursday afternoon. Mast paid $4.5 million for the 16 acres it bought last fall.

Related: South Florida developer eyes Tampa Bay with first project in Wesley Chapel

Saddlebrook features a 500-unit condo and hotel property, two 18-hole golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer, restaurants, and extensive resort amenities and conference space. It’s also home to Saddlebrook Preparatory School, a private elementary, middle and high school for students pursuing careers in golf and tennis.

But it’s best known for its tennis academies and facilities, which have trained players like Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis and Andy Roddick. Saddlebrook was once home to the United States Professional Tennis Association; at one point, the Women’s Tennis Association, now based in St. Petersburg, had eyed the resort as its potential headquarters. Legends like John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King have played there.

Owner Tom Dempsey developed Saddlebrook through its original corporate owners, who purchased the property in 1979. Dempsey purchased it in 1988, and his family has run it ever since.

Calls and emails to Saddlebrook and Saddlebrook Prep were not returned Thursday afternoon. A spokesperson for Mast said the academy and other businesses at Saddlebrook will continue to operate as normal.

Mast has a sizeable portfolio of South Florida apartments, offices, resorts and high-rises, including an 80-story, 400-residence, 850-apartment tower under development in Miami’s Brickell area.