Under new owner, 7 Flags begins to shape up
Friday, October 04, 2013 7:00 AM
Members of 7 Flags Fitness Center in Clive no longer risk breaking an axle from potholes as they drive up to the club, and there’s enough soap and toilet paper stocked in the restrooms.
Recently they swam in the completely renovated outdoor pool, which six months ago was in danger of being condemned by the state. Kosama Clive also has moved into vacant space at the sprawling fitness and entertainment complex at 2100 N.W. 100th St. The facility, which had been declining for a number of years, again is beginning to look like a going concern.
The changes are part of a top-to-bottom renovation underway by new owner A.J. McCann, who said he will return the 7 Flags Complex - which encompasses both the fitness center and 7 Flags Events Center on an 11-acre site – to its previous status as a community activities hub. McCann, an entrepreneur in Kansas, completed the purchase of the declining property, which had been in receivership, in June. His management team took over operations of the club and its facilities in late December 2012.
“To tell you the truth, my first instinct was to repurpose (the property), because I didn’t realize the glass slipper that it fit,” said McCann, who also owns an alternative energy development company in Kansas specializing in community wind and solar projects.
The complex has the potential to again serve as a focal point for community events that could range from youth sports competitions to business networking events, said McCann, who now plans to move with his family to Clive. A key element of the redevelopment effort will be listening to and addressing community needs for Clive and Greater Des Moines, he said.
“This place has caught my attention to the point where I think it’s well worth the time and attention to be a part of it,” he said. “And let’s face it, it’s fun, too.”
Improvements inside and out
Managing the fitness and entertainment complex will entail repairing relationships with the community as well as updating facilities, said Kyle Hamer, the club’s general manager.
The club’s membership, which at one time was as high as 12,000 members, had declined to fewer than 3,300 people when McCann’s company took over management nine months ago.
“The first focus is to make it healthy,” Hamer said. “We were pretty sick as a business when we first started.”
The new owner’s initial capital investment in the 110,000-square-foot fitness facility is projected at between $500,000 and $1 million, he said. Among other improvements planned:
- New flat-screen televisions will be installed in the cardio fitness room.
- The indoor pool area will get new lighting.
- The cafe area will be renovated.
- The events center will be updated.
On the programming side, corporate wellness will be a significant part of the fitness center’s offerings, particularly with the addition of Kosama’s programs.
Derek Sadler, the facility’s chief financial officer. said 7 Flags’ new managers are seeking input from the community on how to reinvent the complex.
Clive City Manager Dennis Henderson said Hamer spoke to the City Council several weeks ago. Henderson is hopeful that 7 Flags and the city will be able to collaborate to offer joint activities, although there have been no discussions yet.
“From the City’s perspective, we obviously want to see them thrive,” he said. “I think they bring some new energy to it.”
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