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Possible site, price tag presented for proposed Rancho Santa Fe pool and fitness center

By Karen Billing

The committee exploring a potential pool and fitness center for Rancho Santa Fe has zeroed in on a workable location and come up with a tentative price tag for the facility. A site between the Player’s Club of the RSF Golf Club and the RSF Tennis Club was presented at a July 15 meeting, as well as a potential $10 million-$15 million price tag.

The July 15 meeting was open to the public (although closed to members of the media) and committee member Chuck Yash said about 30 people attended.

The committee continues to work toward a communitywide vote on Oct. 6 — not on the project, but on whether the Association should spend funds on a professional planning process. If the vote shows this is something the community would like to pursue, the committee would work toward a vote for building a pool and fitness center in 2015.

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The committee plans a presentation to the RSF Association board, RSF Golf Club and RSF Tennis Club at a Sept. 11 meeting, and a series of open forums is slated for the week of Sept. 14.

“We want to have an open meeting with golf and tennis club members because everyone has to contribute if it’s going to get done,” Yash said. “We want to have them understand the complete nature of the project in an open-minded way.”

Yash said some of the big reasons the committee has been tasked with exploring the feasibility of a pool and fitness center is that RSF Golf Club memberships are down 27 percent over the past 10 years and RSF Tennis Club memberships are down 29 percent over the past five years.

The facility would allow the community to remain relevant for existing residents and young families and  become more “vibrant” for the next generations of buyers.

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“It would round out the whole complex and make it more attractive to join all three clubs,” Yash said.  “A lot of people in the Covenant have to drive 20 to 30 minutes to get to a workout in the morning. There was a positive response to having a workout facility 5  minutes from home.”

At the meeting, Kirk Mason, designer of the facilities at Santaluz, said that the proposed location between the player’s clubhouse and the tennis clubhouse seems to be the most ideal, as it creates a minimal disruption of the existing clubs.

The size of the health club facility would be about 15,000 square feet, capable of supporting 600 to 800 memberships. The club would include free weights, yoga, aerobics, fitness machines, casual dining and locker rooms.

For the pool facility, the committee discussed having an adult lap pool, a family pool with zero entry, whirlpool, splash pad and shaded areas.

“Some people were concerned with the size of the project and what happens if we don’t have enough memberships and how it’s going to operate,” Yash said. “The committee is very open and the discussions are very collegial … we try to be as open and forthright as possible.”

Yash said many in attendance were most interested in the financing. The committee discussed using money from the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Community Enhancement Fund and initiation fees.

In the committee’s “cursory figures,” members could add fitness to their golf and tennis memberships by paying a $2,500 pre-opening initiation fee and $160 in monthly dues. After opening, any existing golf or fitness members could join with an initiation fee to be determined and charged the same monthly fee.

Any Covenant member not a member of the RSF Golf or Tennis Club could join the health club by paying a $10,000 initiation fee and $250 in monthly dues.

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Per the cursory numbers, the committee estimated that around 500 people could join in the pre-opening period, generating over $3 million in revenue. They assumed about a net 35 new members annually through the third year. The committee estimated generating about $1,213,800 in dues in the first year and $1,496,400 by year three.

The committee’s assumptions on expenses so far includes $97,000 for pool utilities and chemicals, 2.5 full-time club employees and trainers’ contract labor. The committee continues to make expense calculations based on comparisons with other local clubs.

The committee will next meet on Aug. 19.


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