Founded in 1971 as The Dayton Racquet Club and rebranded by ClubCorp in 2018, the club that occupies the top floors of the tallest building in downtown Dayton, Ohio has been closed since mid-March. It has now been sued by the building’s owner for failing to make lease payments and leaving the club unsecured, leading to “unfettered access to certain amenities, [including] freely open and available alcohol at two fully stocked bars.” The lawsuit claims a ClubCorp executive said no more payments were forthcoming and the club would be permanently closed, but the management firm has withheld comment.
Arkham Ventures, the real-estate acquisition arm for Stratacache, a Dayton, Ohio-based digital signage and technology company, has sued ClubCorp, which owns The Dayton Club atop the Stratacache Tower in downtown Dayton, for failing to make lease payments and leaving the club site unsecured in its closure since March, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Formerly known as The Dayton Racquet Club, The Dayton Club has occupied its space at the top of the 30-story Stratacache Tower, which was formerly known as the Kettering Tower and is downtown Dayton’s tallest building, since 1971, the Daily News reported. The club was founded by Virginia Kettering, one of the city’s leading philanthropists.
In addition to its views, the club’s space includes an athletic center with workout facilities, business-meeting space with telecommunication and audio-visual amenities, a 150-seat main dining room, and six private rooms that accommodate up to 200 guests, the Daily News reported.
The club was “reinvented” by ClubCorp in 2018 and in addition to the name change, a racquetball court was transformed into a bar, the Daily News reported. One squash court was retained during the reinvention.
Chris Riegel, chief executive and owner of Stratacache, said the club has a number of lifetime members, among them some prominent Dayton attorneys, the Daily News reported. It’s an open question how those members will be made whole for dues after the club’s expected permanent closure, Riegel said on May 18th.
Arkham’s lawsuit states that Tom Bennison, ClubCorp’s Chief Development Officer, “has indicated that it (the company) will not make any future rental payments to Arkham” and that the club would not reopen, the Daily News reported. But Emily Decker, ClubCorp’s general counsel, declined to comment to the Daily News on May 18th.
The suit alleges that the club has failed to make its April and May lease payments and left perishable items in an “unsecured” space on the top floors of the tower, the Daily News reported, and that “certain individuals (who may or may not have been affiliated as members) have been going into the leased premises without restriction and having unfettered access to certain amenities, which includes freely open and available alcohol at two fully stocked bars.”
The lawsuit contends that the tower owner is owed “in excess of $25,000 plus costs and expenses, including its attorneys’ fees, incurred in connection with this matter.”
Arkham Ventures bought the building early in 2019 for $13 million, the Daily News reported. Riegel has talked of using the tower purchase as a launching pad for revitalizing the center of Dayton’s downtown, with changes that would include building a rooftop, open-air restaurant while also boosting the building’s occupancy.
In an interview on May 18th, Riegel still expressed optimism about the future of the building, the Daily News reported. “The opportunity to develop that space and bring it to its highest potential is very much on our radar,” he said.
But ClubCorp has been trying to leave the space “since the day we bought the building,” Riegel said, adding that he believes the management firm has been using the shutdown caused by the pandemic as simply a “convenient excuse.”
Stratacache has surveillance cameras throughout the building, which is why Riegel said he knows that people were taking advantage of the club’s bars, the Daily News reported.
Some of the items and stock found in the club will be donated to local food banks, Riegel said. Club members who had personal collections of wine in the space should contact Arkham or Stratacache to arrange to retrieve them, he added.
After its closing in mid-March, the Daily News reported, the club’s website has had this message: “This is a terribly unfortunate state of affairs we are all coping with; The Dayton Club staff thanks you for your patience and understanding. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.”