The Lower Mainland's next private club could open its doors in South Surrey, B.C., as early as 2017.
The Peninsula Club is a proposed 160,000-square-foot facility on King George Boulevard and Crescent Road that could feature amenities like business pods, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, two NHL-size ice rinks, tennis courts, a wine bar, and yoga studios.
"We have the concept already created. It will be a family club. It will be a community of friends where you get to play and work out and dine and gather with your friends," said Peninsula Club Society Chair Mary Manning.
Manning says it is too early to say what the final product will look like exactly, but a few concept drawings have already been drafted and planners are surveying prospective members to find out what amenities should be included.
"People have found me through LinkedIn or Facebook or literally just looked me up in the phone book. I am being approached regularly about this, so there is huge interest," said Manning.
"Our primary focus will be South Surrey–White Rock, but I have investors who are interested in Tsawwassen who are without a doubt planning on being our members. I've had applications interest from Richmond. I have applications interest from people in South Vancouver because the Arbutus Club has a wait list."
Exclusivity comes at a price
Manning estimates some 7,500 will be willing to pay the high price for exclusivity. Discounted membership rates would be offered for people who sign up early, but full membership could cost as much as $50,000 — similar to the Arbutus Club in Vancouver and Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver.
Even though only the financially comfortable will be able to access the club, Manning says it will also benefit those cannot afford membership. Some 1,200 new residents are moving to the City of Surrey every month, which is putting pressure on the city to build soccer fields, skating rinks and swimming pools. The Peninsula Club will help ease that burden.
"We will take a large demographic and refocus their attention away from the public facilities into the private spectrum," said Manning.
Manning said the club will also be good for the economy.
"We will provide over 300 full-time good jobs within the club...and that's after we spend about, I think it's somewhere around, 900 man-years to get the place built."
Anita Huberman with the Surrey Board of Trade agrees.
"[It's] a significant step to be able to enjoy everything within the same city instead of travelling downtown. And I think when we're talking about a population growth of still 1,200 people a month, another million people moving into this region by 2025, I think having an Arbutus Club-like facility within Surrey is so important to an overall healthy economy," said Huberman.
Catering to Surrey's foodie roots
The project still requires approval by the City of Surrey as well as the Agricultural Land Commission. Currently, the land is being used as a par three golf course, and a municipal report shows the land is not ideal for agricultural use.
Even so, Manning's business partner Don Redden envisions gardens, greenhouses, and a variety of fruit and nut trees on club property.
"We recognize that South Surrey and White Rock area is a real foodie community with all the agricultural land around it. And we thought we'd have a great opportunity to provide farm-to-fork experience for the members of the club, so they could actually eat produce and herbs that was actually grown on site," he said.
After the proposal is approved, Manning and her team plan on setting up a presentation centre and a website. They hope to be signing up members sometime later this year.