RISING property prices and falling player numbers are putting the squeeze on Melbourne's squash courts, but the manager of Bayside's last public courts insists his are "here to stay".
Nine squash courts used by Bayside Stringing and Brighton Squash, the buildings in which they are housed and the land at 116-120 Martin Street were sold to property developers in December, along with a neighbouring site on the corner of Asling Street. The buildings also house the Salt of the Earth health centre, Shustin Developments and John Lombardo tax and accounting office.
The sale comes as squash courts all over the city are being squeezed out of prime residential real estate as property developers move in.
Squash Victoria high performance manager Richard Cagliarini said courts in Belmont, Malvern and Melton had been sold and closed since the end of last year.
"Courts are built in residential zones and when someone makes the offer it can be hard to refuse," he said. Mr Cagliarini said as the number of courts declined, fewer people were playing the sport.
Australian Sports Commission data shows that between 2001-10 the number of Victorians playing squash fell 58.8 per cent, from 87,600 to 36,900.
Brighton Squash manager Phil Larmer said he was not worried about the sale as his business was strong and would continue "here or elsewhere".
Mr Larmer said he has a secure lease on the courts.