Rancho Santa Fe Association’s pool and fitness committee held a meeting and discussion on July 15 to present plans and initial research for a new facility. RSFA Director Heather Slosar led the meeting which was attended by several Ranch residents.
Founder of ClubMark Rick Coyne discussed the necessity of the project, Founder of Mason Architecture Kirk Mason outlined possible site plans, Chuck Yash and Catherine Fox presented a timeline and communication strategy, and Michael Licosati broke down the financial details.
The necessity of a pool and fitness center
RSF Golf Club memberships have been declining since 2003, a 30 percent decrease in the past 10 years. This is reflective of a nationwide trend. Tennis memberships have also been declining as precipitously since 2009.
The Ranch’s population has also shifted over the years and is now more aged. The age demographic is a two-way street. Over time, the population will again become younger. The Ranch must remain competitive and accommodating to a younger family market. At the same time, a pool and fitness center along with the existing golf and tennis clubs may attract younger families to the Ranch.
The additional amenities create a package that entertains all members of a family, not just the adults who play golf or tennis.
Rick Coyne stated:
“If golf is declining, we need to build a broader market. If tennis is declining, we need to enhance our offering. If we have an aging population, we need to attract younger buyers. If we’re trying to attract younger buyers, we need to find the right amenity package. If we want increased viability for current members, we need to increase the quality of life. If we want real estate value, we have to broaden the appeal to increase the velocity of sales and value. And if we want to create a sense of community, we need to create a focal point.”
Research and Development
Michael Licosati led the financial discussions, and stated initial R&D costs for a feasibility study are estimated to be around $350,000. This is approximately 2.5 percent of combined revenues between the Golf Club ($8.5 million) and RSF Association ($5.4 million).
For perspective, average companies spend anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of their budget on R&D.
In addition, the Association has $2.6 million in unrestricted reserves, $6 million in restricted reserves, and $6 million in its community enhancement fund which grows at about $1 million per year.
“Without research and development, without due diligence on how we enhance our lifestyles and our community, we’re going to fall behind. We think it’s prudent to spend a small fraction of our money to determine whether or not the community wants this and to understand the value proposition.”
Licosati emphasized that there will be no need to raise anyone’s Association dues because of the financial resources already available for the project.
Site Planning and Architecture
Kirk Mason discussed the importance of site circulation and sense of community with the placement of a pool and fitness center. There were four sites around the Golf and Tennis club area in which a new facility could be constructed. All had different pros and cons such as topography, parking situations, and flow with the existing facilities.
The most likely site within the initial studies would place the new facility between the Player’s Club and tennis building. The topography makes construction easier and the placement keeps all facilities close together. While parking may be convenient, it become crowded. A new entry point that doesn’t require driving through parking lots will be explored. Relocating the current clay tennis courts may be considered to create more parking space.
Another possible site may be across from the Golf Club on the other side of Via De La Cumbre. However, this would create fragmentation between the facilities and amenities.
The committee is proposing a 15,000 square foot facility to support 600 to 800 family memberships. It would include free weights, yoga, aerobics, workout machines, casual dining, and locker rooms.
There would be a family pool with a beach-style entry consisting of a ramp leading down into the deeper end. There will also be a separate adult lap pool with of four swimming lanes.
Heather Slosar reiterated that the proposals for location and amenities are not final:
“We have things priced out, but we’re very conscious of not spending our membership money until our members tell us and there’s a mandate”
Proposed fees for the pool and fitness facility are as follows:
$2,500 initiation fee, $160 per month for an 18-month period as a pre-opening special.
$10,000 initiation fee, $250 per month for regular pricing.
Pricing won’t be set in stone until research and development is done, but the committee is confident that proposed prices will work. The committee is estimating 500 memberships during the 18-month pre-opening period. They anticipate a net of 35 new memberships annually for the first three years.
The cost of maintenance for the pools is estimated at $97,000 annually. With these projections, the pool and fitness center would generate $3 million during the pre-opening period alone. Monthly dues would then generate $1.2 to $1.4 million annually for the first five years.
Overall, the pool and fitness center will cost anywhere from $10 to $15 million. With the combination of community enhancement funds, pre-opening revenue, and reserve funds, the committee anticipates no issues funding the project.
There were five steps outlined by the committee to get the project in motion.
The first step, fact finding and pricing estimates, has already been done and was the purpose of the meeting. The committee met with members of the Golf Club and Tennis Club during the Spring for feedback.
Second, the committee is going to refine the data on the facilities, amenities, and financial impact by mid-August. The third step is to present the refined data at an August 19 committee meeting and at a Sept. 11 RSF Association Board meeting.
Fourth, a full plan will be given to all of Rancho Santa Fe on the week of Sept. 14. The committee will meet with the Golf Club, Tennis Club, and other interested groups within the Covenant.
The fifth and final step will be to have the vote go out to the community on Oct. 6 to approve funds for the first steps in research and development.