Fewer private club members prompts focus on cutting debt
Spokane Club board members want to sell the club’s Spokane Valley facility.
The former Central Park Racquet Club was purchased by the club in 2000 for roughly $3.2 million. Since then the private social and athletic club has spent about $3 million on upgrades.
In the past year and a half, two parties contacted the club indicating an interest to buy the Valley location at 5900 E. Fourth Ave. Both inquiries were made through brokers.
Club Chairwoman Shelley McDowell said the first inquiry came before the club completed a recent strategic plan review.
After finishing the strategic plan, club officials have decided that eliminating debt and focusing on the downtown club at 1002 W. Riverside Ave. are top priorities.
The board responded to the second inquiry – made a few months ago – by saying it would develop a marketing plan to sell the Valley site. No specific offers have been presented.
“We’re not yet sure what price we’ll be asking,” McDowell said.
A recent survey sent to club members found a wide majority supported the move to consider selling the building if a reasonable offer is made, McDowell said.
About one-third of the club’s 2,600 members use the Valley building. It has 10 tennis courts, handball courts, an indoor pool, workout rooms and conditioning areas.
When the club bought the Valley building, however, it had 3,500 members. The decline in membership, faced by private clubs across the country, has prompted the focus on cutting debt, McDowell said.
Club board members would like to get at least $6.5 million, as that’s how much debt the Valley building has, McDowell said. Of that amount, $5 million is the mortgage; the other $1.5 million is the debt from a credit swap contract the club signed while borrowing money for upgrades. The club made that contract to lock rates in, fearing interest rates would rise.
Instead, interest rates dropped, causing the added liability, McDowell said.
Another Spokane Club-owned building, the historic old Chamber of Commerce building next door to its downtown building, is close to being sold, McDowell said. The club bought that building in 1997.
It’s been listed at a price of roughly $895,000 for more than a year. McDowell said the purchase may close soon at a price close to that amount.