Gurnee Park District plans to expand its fitness portfolio by purchasing a Gold's Gym building near the Tri-State Tollway for $9.1 million, officials announced Friday.
Park District Executive Director Susie Kuruvilla said the tentative deal, projected to close Oct. 31, would allow the agency to add an indoor swimming pool, more group exercise space and more recreational opportunities. The park district already operates a fitness center at Hunt Club Park on the village's west side.
"We're very excited about it," Kuruvilla said. "It's a great opportunity."
Park officials said they were first approached about purchasing Gold's Gym Gurnee last fall after it went into foreclosure and no other potential buyers surfaced. Officials then commissioned a study that showed the park district could acquire and operate the building through membership and program fees.
About $10.5 million would be borrowed by the park district through a bond sale to cover the $9.1 million needed for the Gold's Gym transaction and provide extra money for facility upgrades. Park district taxes would not increase from the borrowing, officials said.
Gold's Gym, on Nations Drive just east of the Tri-State Tollway in Gurnee, planned to close later this year. Open since 1999, it now covers 75,000 square feet with a fitness area, five-lane lap pool, saunas, steam rooms, two hot tubs, gymnasium, group fitness studios, spin room and spacious locker rooms.
Park board President Jim Goshorn said Gold's Gym would be a permanent solution to indoor aquatic needs, which has been an issue for several years. He said the facility would provide space and flexibility needed to address future growth.
"Economic conditions have made properties more affordable," Goshorn said, "and low interest rates make it an opportune time to borrow without any burden on taxpayers."
Gold's Gym customers would be shifted to park district memberships when the sale is finalized. Members would be able to use the Hunt Club Park and Gold's Gym fitness facilities.
"Park districts are becoming a major player in national health initiatives," Kuruvilla said, "and this facility will act as a cornerstone in decreasing sedentary lifestyles and promoting healthy living."
Vernon Hills village government and the park district combined on a similar purchase in 2012. The village loaned the park district about $2 million at no interest to buy a Lakeview Parkway building, which has an indoor pool, from the financially struggling Central Lake YMCA.
Gurnee park officials plan to host a public informational meeting regarding Gold's Gym at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 11. It'll be at Viking Park Community Center, 4374 Old Grand Ave. in Gurnee.
Kuruvilla said all Gold's Gym employees would be given a chance to interview with the park district.