David Lloyd, tennis player and health club entrepreneur, will launch a $54 million facility in Florida with Australian Open champion Johan Kriek

  • In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, former tennis star David Lloyd revealed he was taking his health club empire to a facility in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
  • This is Lloyd's first major investment on US soil, having built up a leisure empire in the UK. It marks an investment of up to £40 million ($54 million), Lloyd said.
  • He plans to move there full-time when the 20-acre health club, park and tennis academy breaks ground in 2021.
  • Lloyd is working with retired Australian Open champion Johan Kriek as coach at the academy.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

David Lloyd, founder of David Lloyd Leisure Clubs and Next Generation, is set to launch his first American venture in Florida in an investment worth up to £40 million ($54 million), Business Insider can reveal.

The British entrepreneur's new venture is to include a health club, adrenaline park with zip lines and climbing walls, and tennis academy on a near-20 acre site in Palm Beach Gardens next year. He is launching the venture with two-time Australian Open champion Johan Kriek.

Lloyd, who sold the leisure company bearing his name for £201 million ($272 million) in 1995 after a tennis career that took him to the semi-finals of Wimbledon, told Business Insider his first major investment on US soil would be "a full time project."

The 72-year-old said: "Johan, who is a fantastic coach, will be concentrating on building the academy and the programmes in the club.

"I'll be concentrating on the management and the commerciality of the business and that means creating the right atmosphere. I'm very excited."

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Lloyd and Kriek will enter the enterprise in joint partnership and were initially hoping to break ground this year.

But plans were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The delay "benefitted the project" in the long run, Lloyd said, as they have been able to raise more money and take their time.

Lloyd said his upcoming plans would cater to locations across North America, and the duo have the support from the United States Tennis Association.

David Lloyd Leisure Clubs, which Lloyd founded in 1982, has more than 100 locations across Europe and Australia.

When the project breaks ground, the Essex, England-born businessman will move to Palm Springs, where he owns a home and plans to work on the project full-time, aiming to launch it when the pandemic is over.

Alongside the health club and tennis academy will be an "adrenaline park," similar to a project Lloyd is involved with in the UK.

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It will feature adventure apparatus including zip lines, climbing walls, and trampolines, 

The park will feature a 25-metre "space-age-like building," which Lloyd said would need local government's approval.

The head office is on the same site, which includes a main building and a 170-space car park.

"We will be there 24/7 until we know it's a success," said Lloyd. "We will live, breathe and manage it. I would really love to try and be on site next March and it will take 11 months to build. We would like to be open within a year and a half from now.

"The club and the academies will be on the same site around nine acres and will have separate entrances, so they can use each other's facilities, such as the clubhouse, if you want it. The adrenaline action park will be eight or nine acres."

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