Sports Mall plans to stay open, but changes are in storeFeb 10, 2021 01:57PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
The Sports Mall applied to rezone its property. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Sports Mall owners have clarified that they are still planning to keep their gym open after requesting to rezone their property to be converted to mixed-use development.
In a December Murray City Planning Commission meeting, the Sports Mall owners were reported to have told city staffers that they “have seen declines in membership and faced the need for financially difficult and impractical repairs and upgrades to maintain the building and keep the business viable.”
Sports Mall Manager Brent Cook told the Murray Journal, “During the COVID year, we were fearful of additional closings and reduced revenue and were thinking about things that we could do to increase revenue in and around the Sports Mall. One of the ideas was to build some housing around the club that would utilize our unique facilities as well as [bring] additional revenue to the Sports Mall.”
Sports Mall’s owners did not specify if or what parts of its gymnasium complex would be modified for the rezoning.
“The process would allow for more funds for updating and stabilization of revenue for the long term. Hence, the request for mixed-use zoning. As the year advanced, we did not have another closing, and we adjusted expenses and payroll in the shortfall to accommodate for the reduced revenue.”
Indeed, the pandemic has been fatal for some gyms. In December, Mayor Blair Camp announced, “Unfortunately, a stone’s throw away, the 24-Hour Fitness facility has permanently closed.”
“As the vaccine becomes available and people are confident, they will return to the gyms in their area,” Cook said. “The industry will rebound as people feel safe. Gyms have adapted to the new requirements with wipes and cleaning materials. We have had no serious COVID issues at the Sports Mall.”
Murray City Community and Economic Development Director Melinda Greenwood said, “They have asked to postpone their application, and we don’t have a new date for their public hearing yet.”
Sports Mall asserts that current tenants should not expect to be impacted.
“At this point, we plan to operate the Sports Mall as we have in the past, keeping all tenants in place and helping them to improve their business models. They are a significant asset to the Sports Mall family,” Cook said.
“As for The Point After, our current lease runs through 2029. At that point, we fully expect to sign an extension,” The Point After sports bar Manager Doug Marlowe said.
In the December planning commission meeting, the owners said they had to make upgrades and repairs to the 45-year-old building.
According to Cook, “Over the past 44 years of operation of the Sports Mall, we have put millions of dollars into the maintenance of the building. Last year, we suffered a break in the main water line of the club, and it caused a serious financial setback that was a surprise expense to the operation. Sports Mall was originally built by a company that built LDS temples, and the bones of the building are remarkable.
“We have changed and remodeled the building many times over the last 45 years. We will continue to do so as needs and funds present themselves. During the last two years, we have added new boilers, energy-saving devices that make the facility updated and functional. We acknowledge the loyalty of our members and express our appreciation to them for years of support. We have always wanted to be a part of the community and are here because of community support.”