Glendale - When Elite Sports Club owner Kay Yuspeh bought the former Le Club fitness center four years ago, she decided 20 tennis courts within a two-mile radius was unnecessary. She thought the community might be better served by a more flexible, family-oriented use of space.
Now, four years into her ownership of the fitness facility at 2001 W. Good Hope Road, the 44-year-old building is undergoing a massive $5 million renovation that will, among other things, reduce the number of tennis courts in favor of creating a supervised "flex space" where children of all age groups have space to play and socialize.
"I grew up in this area, and I think the one thing the area really needed was a safe space for kids to hang out and be active, especially in the winter months," said Yuspeh, who owns all five Elite Sports Clubs in the area.
The 30,000-square-foot open space known as "the Quad" opened about a month ago, taking the place of four tennis courts on the east side of the building. Six indoor courts and three outdoor courts remain at this location, and another 10 remain at the Elite North Shore club two miles south at 5750 N. Glen Park Road.
"We could fill the tennis courts from 6 to 8 p.m. every night, but otherwise we have open courts," Yuspeh said. "We asked ourselves how we utilize the space better and what were the needs in the marketplace. We thought the need was family and kids."
Yuspeh decided she wanted to make the club on Good Hope Road more family-friendly, particularly for middle school kids who might prefer flexible, non-structured activities. The large space has hard court and turf spaces for basketball, floor hockey, soccer and volleyball. Plastic barriers can be used to define soccer fields and hockey rinks.
"We could make it all turf, or we could roll the turf up," Yuspeh said. "We wanted total flexibility."
The far east end of the space is more defined: a four-lane mini bowling alley, a batting cage and a five-story play structure with slides, trampolines and tunnels. In the "Balladium" room, four cannons are positioned on each side of the room so kids can shoot balls at the spaceship simulation games happening above each other's heads - or more likely - directly at one another. The "Time Freak" room challenges one or two players to hit as many hit as many lit buttons as possible before time runs out - a sort of whack-a-mole for the 21st century.
The four walls of the Quad were painted with college buildings and trees to make the space feel like a commons area on a college campus. A large stage is available for concerts, dances, presentations and other special events.
"We named it the Quad because we wanted a name that could resonate with any age group. We didn't want to call it a playground for little kids," Yuspeh said. "The Quad is a space where people hang out, meet friends and play sports."
The space is almost entirely for members, but organizations and schools are invited to rent the space for special events. Yuspeh said she is planning multiple events, birthday parties and corporate training sessions in the future. A garage door on the side of the building makes it possible for outside vendors to bring in rock climbing, inflatable objects or other gaming activities.
The Quad was just completed a month ago, but many more renovations are in the works. Just outside of the Quad, the temporary front desk area will be turned into a kid's lounge. The front desk will be relocated to its original location in spring, but the entrance, lounge and cafe area will be given a more modern look and new furniture.
Elite recently transformed an upstairs office space into a spin cycle room, turned two racquetball courts into a playroom for younger children and created an upstairs group workout facility so parents can watch the activity in the Quad. Studio spaces are also being rented by Kennedy Dance Company and Mozart's Gym music school.
The fitness center area is in the process of being renovated and expanded by about 5,000 square feet and will include a cardio theater, treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights and functional training. A functional boot camp training area will overlook the new fitness center. A new yoga studio is being built on the lower level, and an elevator has been installed to connect the three levels.
With the renovations, Yuspeh not only aims to modernize the adult end of the facility, but also provide more opportunities for young people.
“Parents need help when it comes to keeping their kids engaged, active and away from the growing drug problems and unrest in our communities," she said. "We saw an opening to reinvent the space to serve a broader audience and the Quad will accomplish that.”