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Gurnee Park District OKs $9.1M purchase of Gold’s Gym

Marie Neal her husbEugene Neal who own DedicatiFitness located withGold’s Gym building perform little weight lifting. Here Eugene former Marine

Marie Neal and her husband Eugene Neal, who own Dedication Fitness located within the Gold’s Gym building, perform a little weight lifting. Here, Eugene, a former Marine, presses an impressive 1,035 pounds with his legs. | Tina Johansson for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 6, 2013 2:29AM

Gurnee Park District has agreed to purchase the Gold’s Gym for $9.1 million which will further expand the district’s award-winning facilities.

District Executive Director Susie Kuruvilla described the acquisition, scheduled to close in October, as a “win-win” situation not only as a gain for the community but for the gymnasium’s owner who, according to her, was “going for foreclosure” on the property. She called Gold’s “a very good facility” which the district plans to use as a fitness center.

Gold’s Gym on Nations Drive across from KeyLime Cove water park first opened in 1999 as a 20,000-square-foot fitness center. It added another 55,000 square feet including a swimming pool in 2007. The membership-driven facility on eight acres, however, has fallen on hard times in recent years because of the listless economy.

“We have been hurt badly by the economy. Our revenue has dropped 60 percent from 2007,” said owner Dick Glass of Rolling Meadows.

The revenue comes from Gold’s membership, which Glass said numbers about 10,000 people. Another revenue source is from the use of the facility by hotel guests from five area hotels with which Gold’s has established access relationships.

“I’m happy the park district is acquiring the property because I don’t have the resources as they do (to stay in business),” he added.

Glass, through a real estate broker, approached the district for the sale last August and had originally asked a reported $15 million. The district negotiated the price down after due diligence including a feasibility study and appraisal of the property.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the park district to provide a fitness center to the public,” said Kuruvilla, adding, “We are excited to bring out recreational management expertise to this facility.”

Amenities at the facility include a fitness center, a 5-lane lap pool, saunas, steam rooms, two hot tubs, group fitness studios, spin room, locker room and a parking lot for 500 vehicles.

The acquisition, she added, will enhance the district’s capability “to meet the growing needs for family health and wellness.” Improvements, she said, will be made to make the place better. Plans call for the swimming pool to be used for open swim and for lessons. New programs and activities are planned. Also, the district will drop the Gold’s name, but a new one is yet to be chosen, said Kuruvilla.

The acquisition will be financed by bonds to be issued for $10.5 million with funds left over from the purchase for improvements. Revenue from the facility will be used to help pay for the bonds.

The sale is expected to close by Oct. 31. Glass said he will collaborate with the district in making the transition as smooth as possible. Kuruvilla said the district will interview the facility’s employees for possible retention. It currently employs 75 people.

The district will hold a public informational meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, at Viking Park Community Center, 4374 Grand Avenue, Gurnee, to inform the public of the acquisition and to get community input on its usage.

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