While the owners and managers of Cedardale Health and Fitness, Haverhill, Massachusetts, stood on a nearby lawn and watched their health club burn, they were already formulating their next move. Priority No. 1, Senior Manager Mary Lynch said, was finding a temporary home for their 5,000 displaced members.
Almost a month after the March 1 locker room fire, they have signed a lease to move into a defunct Boston Sports Club in nearby Andover, Massachusetts. The facility, located at 307 Lowell Road, will provide Cedardale members with four tennis courts, four group studios, an equipment space, nursery and locker rooms.
The accidental fire started in the women’s locker room and affected more than 50,000 square feet of the club. No one was injured in the blaze, but damages are estimated between $2 million and $5 million.
The Lowell Road site is “the best possible scenario to bring our members back together,” Lynch said, while management focuses on rebuilding the damaged Boston Road facility.
“We really felt committed to rebuilding from day one and haven't changed our minds since,” Lynch told Club Industry. “The days and weeks that have followed have brought a nonstop series of meetings, committees and exploration … along with so many other issues that we never dreamed we’d have to deal with. None of us had experienced such a catastrophic loss before, so we are all on new ground, learning as we go with huge support from club owners and vendors from across the country.”
The damaged facility will be wholly or partially demolished after staff finish taking inventory of recovered items. The new Cedardale will feature a fresh design and layout, Lynch said.
Since the fire, Cedardale staff have been providing updates on their Facebook page. As of March 16, their outdoor summer facilities were still “questionable” for usage.
“Because we've been in Haverhill for 45 years, our members have felt a profound sense of loss,” Lynch said. “We agreed as a team that bringing these people back together is of supreme importance.”
Cedardale ranked No. 81 in Club Industry’s Top 100 Health Clubs of 2016. The 46-year-old, multipurpose club reported $8.25 million in 2015 revenue, a 4 percent increase from 2014.