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Grandville athletic club members fight to save building from demolition

Property owner confirmed plans to turn club into apartment complex
Posted at 6:08 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 18:08:09-05

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — The days are numbered for a staple of the Grandville community. The Premier Athletic & Tennis Club will likely be closing at the end of May.

Peak Management, the property's owner, confirmed to FOX 17 today the club will be "eliminated." However, its 2,000+ members are not going down without a fight.

“What are we going to do?" asked Kaylee Kessler, a member since last July. "Where are we going to go? This is a lot of our social lives. This is where we have met our friends. It's my second family. The thought of not being able to have this is devastating.”

Kessler goes to the club four to five times a week. In her short time as a member, she's quickly realized the club's impact on the community. The Premier Athletic & Tennis Club, located on Spartan Industrial Drive SW in Grandville, has been around since the mid-1970s, offering a place for people to connect and exercise.

After weeks ago, though, members were blindsided by news that Peak Management had plans to demolish the building.

“There (were) no talks, no rumors, no mumblings that this would even be happening," Kessler told FOX 17. "It was pretty shocking to say the least.”

The athletic club is on the same property as the Ramblewood Apartments. Peak Management, based in Royal Oak, purchased that entire lot in August 2021. The company sent FOX 17 this statement Monday:

“We purchased Premier Athletic & Tennis Club in August, 2021 in a transaction that included the 1,188-unit Ramblewood Apartments. Although contiguous to the apartment community, the club has operated as a separate business with a dedicated staff, budget, and P&L.

After careful consideration of many factors including the need for additional quality housing in the market, we have made the decision to close the facility in May and begin the process of developing 102 new apartment homes on the site beginning this summer.

In conjunction with this announcement, we are excited to share that we will begin construction on a new Ramblewood Apartments’ community center this summer. This modern amenity will we accessible to all residents and include a clubhouse, whole body fitness center and large outdoor pool. We will be providing additional information and renderings in the coming months. We expect the project to be completed by Memorial Day, 2023.”

That announcement prompted more than 50 club members to show up at a city council meeting on Feb. 28, with about 15-20 of them pleading the council members to keep the building.

“We're not just missing out on five indoor tennis courts," Kessler said. "This is hundreds of people that are no longer going to come to our community, even just for a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon because the club is not there.”

Club members also started a petition to raise awareness and put a stop to the plans.

The land is zoned for residential use, and it's on private property. However, Grandville Assistant City Manager Matthew Butts told FOX 17 Peak Management has yet to bring its plans to the planning commission. Until that happens, Butts could not confirm if the apartment proposal will be approved, or if club members could do to prevent a change from happening.

Kessler said, “I don't know that there's anything else we can do. I think we're just trying to tug at their heartstrings. I'm not sure how that works in the business world, (but) I feel like it probably doesn't work very well.”

With time running out on their current facility, members are left scrambling to search for a backup plan.

“Well, our first choice is to keep our current home, obviously," said Kessler. "If that can't happen, we want to find another place where we can kind of continue what what we've built so far.”

In a Facebook post from Feb. 25, the club said:

"We are extremely disappointed to inform you that Premier Athletic & Tennis Club will be closing its doors for business on May 27, 2022. It has been our absolute privilege to serve our members. We would like to thank you for your support of the club and its employees over the years.

All current programs and classes will continue as normal. We are dedicated to providing exceptional services until the day we close. We know that this will be hard for many of you and us. If you would like to speak to a member of the team, please do so. We are here for you.

The club will continue to allow monthly membership access with all initiation fees waived through April 30 and only 50% of dues will be charged in the month of May, but members will have access until May 27th. Please let others know to take advantage of this opportunity.

Thank you again for being part of our special community!"

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