Lone Center Court building bidder plans entertainment center conversionPark district's Staley: 'It's a bird in the hand'
The Center Court Fitness Center building will continue to be used for fun and games. The new owner of the property is startup business Northern Air Family Entertainment. Its plan calls for a play facility that will feature trampolines, inflatable toys, laser tag, paintball and other games targeted for youth.
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
The Center Court Fitness Center building will continue to be used for fun and games.
The new owner of the property is startup business Northern Air Family Entertainment. Its plan calls for a play facility that will feature trampolines, inflatable toys, laser tag, paintball and other games targeted for youth.
“I love it,” said John Staley, Park District director. “For one thing, it’s a bird in the hand. There are a lot of empty buildings in Grand Forks.
“Plus, it’s a recreation use. We’re all about recreation here.”
Northern Air, the lone bidder, will pay $550,000 for the facility along 32nd Avenue South, $50,000 more than the bid minimum.
Park District officials were worried that they might not receive any bids for Center Court, which will be replaced by Choice Health & Fitness in about 13 months. Center Court will remain open until the opening of the new center on the south end of the city limits near Washington Street. The $25 million cost of Choice is being paid by donations, sponsorships and naming rights fees.
Bryan Lee, who works at the family business of Gateway Storage in Grand Forks, will be the manager of Northern Air. After remodeling, the business is expected to open before the end of 2012.
“We have 80 percent of the space in there already accounted for,” Lee said. “We’re trying to make it a place where everyone has something to do.”
He has visited a similar facility in Twin Cities suburb Plymouth that has been popular for hosting birthday parties.
The Park District purchased the building from Center Court Tennis Centre in 1986. After repairs, it cost $1.2 million. The $550,000 will pay off the remaining $250,000 on the mortgage, with the rest set aside for other capital projects.
“This also puts the property back on the tax rolls and we avoid the risk of holding onto it,” Staley said.
Center Court is connected with the Red River Valley Gymnastics facility. Lee said that should be a good fit. “The next step after bouncing around is gymnastics,” he said.
Although the gymnastics club owns its building, the Park District owns the land where it sits. Park Board commissioner Jay Panzer suggested selling the land to the club for $1 so “we can be out of it and be over with it.”
Club memberships hiked
The board also approved dues increases of 4 to 5 percent for the last year of Center Court.
Starting Sept. 1, monthly rates will increase from $40 to $42 for seniors, college students and military personnel, from $48 to $50 for adults and $65 to $68 for families. The junior rate of $18 will remain the same.
The YMCA, partners with the Park District, enacted the same rates recently.
The rates likely will increase again in September of 2012, when Choice Health & Fitness is slated to open. Any hikes will be modest, said Cam Tweten, the fitness club manager.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send email to email@example.com.