COVID-19 has claimed yet another economic victim, this time the Calhoun Beach Athletic Club in Minneapolis. It will close its doors to the public Sept. 30.
In a letter to members, club owner Aimco wrote: “The pandemic has presented additional obstacles related to membership and operations that have accelerated our plans to consider redeveloping the space. While we figure out the best way to serve our community, we’ve made the difficult decision to close the athletic club. ... Removing the operational and financial constraints of serving the general public allows us to focus entirely on transforming the athletic club for the better.”
Sections of the 40,000-square-foot facility will remain open as a fitness center, but only for residents of the adjacent apartment building that Denver-based Aimco also owns.
The letter was sent to club members of the Uptown facility on July 27, the same day the club was expected to resume its group exercise classes. The athletic center has been open for 44 years, but the coronavirus may have proved its death knell.
“The pandemic has presented a number of obstacles, and it just didn’t make financial sense to keep the club open,” said Aimco spokesperson Jamie Alvarez in an e-mail Thursday. “We’re still very early in the planning phase and redevelopment of the community isn’t confirmed.”
In its letter to members, Aimco said that it intends to study other uses for the facility over the next few months and could ultimately decide to include a “fitness complex” in the next development. “If it does, we hope you’ll choose to return to our club,” officials said.
The historic Calhoun Beach Athletic Club sits adjacent to the former Lake Calhoun, named for the staunch 19th-century slavery advocate John C. Calhoun. The lake was recently rechristened Bde Maka Ska, its original Dakota name.
The building was in the news last month after officials announced they will drop the name Calhoun from the apartment and the athletic club facility. The name-change decision followed the May 25 police killing of George Floyd and protests that demanded the end of racial inequities.