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RETAIL AND RESTAURANTS : New Spa to Open Where Predecessor Never Could Build Up Its Fiscal Fitness

June 08, 1994|Greg Johnson, Times staff writer

The Spa at South Coast Plaza plans to open Aug. 1 in a building previously occupied by the short-lived and ill-fated Spa at the Center on Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.

The new club incorporates the upscale building that housed the defunct spa, including its marble statues, luxurious carpeting and the tony address near Orange County's leading shopping center.

But Spa at South Coast executives say that's about all the two clubs will share. "It's a totally new management and a new ownership," spa director Kim Matheson said. "The old club only was open for less than six months and this is a totally new operation."

The former spa opened early in 1992 but immediately ran into financial trouble. Jeffrey Jones, a co-founder of the club, linked its August, 1992, demise to financial commitments that never materialized.

The new club is owned by Kaiser Developers Inc., a Chicago-based company that owns several health clubs in the East. The new club will be managed by Denver-based Club Sports International, which manages 36 health clubs and spas east of the Rocky Mountains.

The old club left more than 200 members in the lurch when it failed. Matheson said the new club is "working with those individuals to be sensitive to their needs." That includes "preferential memberships." Matheson declined to state specifics of the memberships.

The new club is adding a restaurant that the old club lacked the funds to complete. Among the club's amenities: an outdoor, 25-yard lap pool and a sun deck; steam, sauna and whirlpool facilities; exercise machines; massages, and body wraps and mineral baths.

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