Scarborough land proposed for health club back on the market

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SCARBOROUGH — A 40-acre parcel of land purchased last year for development of a multi-million-dollar athletic club is up for sale again.

The property at 125 Running Hill Road is listed for $995,000 by CB Richard Ellis/The Boulos Co. According to the Scarborough assessing database on the town’s Web site, the land was last purchased for $800,000 in January 2008 and is owned by Running Hill Property LLC. At the time of purchase, the assessed land value was $199,000.

“It’s probably the largest un-subdivided parcel close to the (Maine) Mall at this point,” Daniel Greenstein of Boulos said Wednesday.

Slightly more than half of the 40 acres is buildable, Greenstein said, but even with wetland restricting its development, Greenstein said the parcel is larger than any other commercially zoned property in the area.

According to Greenstein, owners of the property are led by John Donovan, who also owns the Manchester Athletic Club in Manchester, Mass., the facility that was to be the model for the Scarborough club.

The proposed $50 million Scarborough Athletic Club was the dream last year of developer Donna Dwyer and her business partner, Robert Gough.Their plans called for three indoor pools, one outdoor pool, six outdoor tennis courts and 10 indoor courts. In addition, the building would have housed a large gymnasium; fitness studios; climbing wall; squash, racquetball, basket ball and volleyball courts; cafe; pro shop; physical therapy and chiropractic services, and a spa.

At a public meeting Dwyer held in May 2008 to engage the community and raise financial support, she told the crowd that she and her partner had already raised $1.3 million in seed money and were seeking an additional $2.5 million to $5 million from private investors.

Preliminary designs by Scarborough-based architect Timothy Braun, of Tidewater Architects, employed green building materials and products for the building, which was also planned to exceed federal accessibility standards.

At the time they purchased the property, Dwyer and Gough were waiting for the town to implement expected zoning changes to the Running Hill area that would allow the athletic club and open the door to adding the necessary infrastructure to attract growth, such as sewer lines and improvements to roads.

The zoning has since been approved, and, according to Town Manager Tom Hall, the town has explored ways to extend the sewer. The work would be financed through bonds that would be repaid by tax increment financing, he said. While preliminary engineering has been completed, Hall said the work won’t happen until a project is ready to go that also includes a large parcel owned by R.J. Grondin & Sons.

Dwyer would not respond to phone calls this week. In an e-mail she said, “I do not have any information to share.”

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or