Calhoun Beach Club plans renovation

Calhoun Beach Club
The Calhoun Beach Club is planning to renovate its historic tower on Dean Parkway in 2021 to update the athletic club and add more commercial space. Submitted rendering

Calhoun Beach Club, the 332-unit mixed-use apartment building and fitness club on the north shore of Bde Maka Ska, will be renovated in 2021.

Preliminary plans, presented in January to the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association (CIDNA), include renovating the fitness club, adding first-floor retail space along Lake Street and constructing a glass structure on the building’s second-floor deck.

Denver-based Aimco, which owns the property, plans to start construction in January 2021, regional vice president Brett Leonhardt told the neighborhood association. Calhoun Beach Club was designed in the 1920s as a private club and apartment building with hotel-like features.

Construction began in 1928, and exterior work was substantially completed in 1929. The Great Depression and World War II delayed completion of the building until 1946.

Once opened, it served as a private club and apartment building. In 1953, it was sold and converted into an apartment without membership requirements.

A 12-story apartment tower was added on the property to the east in the 1990s, and Aimco purchased the site in 1998. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Calhoun Beach Club
The Calhoun Beach Club, construction of which started in 1928, has 332 apartments in two towers, a fitness club, ballrooms and commercial space. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Photo by Jamie Nichols

Currently, the property includes the fitness club, a first-floor restaurant space occupied by Urban Eatery, ballrooms, commercial space and rooftop tennis courts and a pool. About 3,000 people belong to the fitness club, which is independently managed.

Leonhardt said that the goal of the project is to make the building into “what it was originally intended to be — a gathering place for the neighborhood.”

“It has been a beacon of social and athletic life around the lake, and we’d like it to be that again,” he said at the neighborhood association meeting.

Aimco’s preliminary plans call for four or five first-floor retail spaces, including a restaurant space that would be located roughly where the restaurant space is today. They also include widening the sidewalk and boulevard and potentially adding a cafe or coffee shop.

Other proposals include renovating the lobby and ballrooms in the vintage tower and converting some of the newer tower’s commercial space into coworking space for club members.

Aimco plans to convert apartments on the fourth and fifth floors of the vintage tower into short-term rental units that could potentially be used by businesses or wedding parties, among other clients.

Leonhardt said another goal of the project is to link together the property’s various architectural styles, which span multiple decades.

He said the company does not plan on asking for any parking variances and that he foresees the project decreasing parking demand.

At the neighborhood association meeting, board members said they’d like a better connection between the property and the adjacent Midtown Greenway trail. A fence currently lines most of the border between the property and the trail. 

CIDNA land-use committee chairman Evan Carlson, who is a member of the club, said it would be nice to have a social gathering place in the neighborhood, noting that other neighborhoods have schools or churches.

Aimco hopes to gather additional feedback at CIDNA’s February board meeting. It wants to workshop its plans at a February meeting of the City Planning Commission Committee of the Whole.