Woodside Club in Westwood set to begin work on $10M renovation — Here are the details

The Westwood City Council has unanimously approved the city’s intent to issue up to $9.5 million in industrial revenue bonds for sales tax exemptions on construction and equipment costs for

The Westwood City Council has unanimously approved the city’s intent to issue up to $9.5 million in industrial revenue bonds for sales tax exemptions on construction and equipment costs for a planned renovation of Woodside Health Club.

  • The city would bear no liability to repay the bonds, and the bonds would not affect the city’s credit rating, City Attorney Ryan Denk said in a council meeting earlier this month.

The details: The club’s owner Blair Tanner told the council the project, estimated to cost between $10-11 million, would include renovation of 42,800 square feet of the club’s 71,350 square feet of indoor space. According to council documents and a project news release, the health club’s renovations would include the following:

  • More than 20,000 square feet of new indoor fitness facilities to replace indoor tennis courts
  • New strength-development equipment
  • An expanded cycle studio
  • Two group fitness studios
  • A 4,300-square-foot personal training center
  • Eight virtual fitness rooms
  • A renovated spa
  • Small-group training and training camps
  • A new retail area where members can buy branded club merchandise

Timeline: Construction is scheduled to start in August and should be mostly finished by year’s end, Tanner said.

  • The upgrades would enable the club “to compete better in the market and improve our financial performance even in the face of the coming competition,” Tanner said.
  • Tanner offered to use half the $600,000 to 700,000 in savings from the sales tax exemption to make improvements to the club’s outdoor pool and family pool area, which the public can use.
  • After construction begins, if the developer and the city are unable to reach an agreement on the project’s public-use portion and the city does not issue the IRBs, then the developer would owe the exempted sales taxes to the state, Denk, the city’s attorney, said in the meeting.

Bigger picture: Tanner also presented to the council an overview of the neighboring Woodside Village North mixed-use retail and residential component, which was built between 2014 and 2016 and has 91 residential units and 20,000 square feet of retail, and Woodside Village South.

  • The overall Woodside project has followed a circuitous path in the past 10 years, with major cost increases, financing difficulties, city renegotiations and delays along the way, including from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to council documents, the proposed Woodside Village South mixed-use development “is already seriously delinquent for commencement of construction based upon the agreed upon timelines” in the redevelopment agreement between the city and the developer. “The Club’s reinvestment in the South side Club improvements further likely signal or ensure a far greater delay in the Woodside Village South project.”

What they said: “When we envisioned this project, we really wanted to create what we thought would be a Main Street for Westwood,” Tanner told the council. “We wanted to have a multifamily-based project but try to create a dynamic, walkable environment for the area. And that for us meant including a meaningful amount of commercial tenants … that would cater to the neighborhood and try to create a sense of community. That was our goal from the very beginning.”

  • Tanner said the club was currently unable to finance its planned larger expansion, which four to five years ago was estimated to cost about $24 million but now would probably cost over $30 million.

Jerry LaMartina is a freelance journalist who contributes frequently to the Shawnee Mission Post and other Kansas City-area publications. He can be reached at lamartina.jerry@gmail.com.