A letter written by the owner of Racquet Club of Irvine (RCI), a tennis club near the corner of Culver and Michelson, was recently posted by a resident on Nextdoor.com. Read the RCI letter
The letter, written and signed by Cecil Spearman, CEO of Spearman Clubs states that RCI "will continue to operate as a club for at least 18 months." But he has a consultant who is studying to see if a "change of entitlement" could be approved for the RCI property (which is about 11 acres) for another purpose other than a tennis club.
Mr. Spearman states that since the deed restriction on the property has expired several years ago, several developers have approached him and "would make a significant offer [to purchase RCI] if I would change the entitlements." He also states "If the change to the highest and best use [zoning] is made and a significant offer is made, I MIGHT CONSIDER SELLING THE LAND."
RCI has been in existence for 45 years and is currently zoned by the City of Irvine for "Commercial Recreation" use.
Consisting of 28 tennis courts including 6 clay courts, RCI is known as one of the most affordable tennis clubs in Orange County. RCI has approximately 500-600 members and is also home to a tennis academy which attracts young players from around the world as well as an afterschool children's tennis program and a swim school.
The letter does not state a developer's intent for the property. But it's reasonable to assume that if the Irvine City Council were to approve a General Plan amendment and zoning change for RCI for medium- or high-density residential development, the RCI property could fetch a much higher sale price.
But Irvine residents who drive on Culver and/or Michelson may question whether these streets can handle more traffic from a new residential development at RCI, especially during peak traffic times.
What Can I Do?
Though it's unknown if a developer will buy RCI and develop the property, it's not too early to voice your opinion. If you would like to voice your opinion on the possible zoning change for the RCI property, below are the email addresses for our Mayor and Irvine City Council: