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Developer who bought former Racquet Club will “grow the club,” he says

The Racquet Club of Concord is now the Health Club of Concord, but its new owner said other changes will come slowly.

Charles Mabardy officially bought the club this week from the Nelson family, which operated the Garvins Falls Road gym for 40 years. The sale saved the property from a foreclosure auction scheduled for Wednesday morning. Since he took over, Mabardy said operations at the club are business as usual.

“Right now, we’re really just going to try to pick up where the Nelsons left off. . . . I’m excited about it,” Mabardy said. “I met a lot of the members. They’re ecstatic.”

Mabardy, 48, has never owned a health club before. He is the president and CEO at Mabardy Oil Inc., and he owns several gas stations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. As a commercial developer based on the Seacoast, he has several other businesses and real estate operations registered with the New Hampshire secretary of state’s office. All of his current operations are listed as being in good standing.

When the Racquet Club went up for sale in May, Mabardy said he saw “an opportunity.”

“People are more health conscious these days,” Mabardy said, so he decided to invest in the gym as a new venture.

The 72,000-square-foot building was listed at $1.8 million. Based on the transfer tax logged with the Merrimack County Registry of Deeds, Mabardy paid $1.75 million for the property. City records have shown the Racquet Club was behind by nearly $200,000 on property taxes since 2011. Michael Benton, the former mortgage holder, paid about $58,000 of those back taxes to avoid seizure by the city, and Mabardy said he has paid the remainder of those outstanding bills in addition to the costs of the sale.

With financial transactions complete, Mabardy said he wishes the best for the Nelsons and has promised to keep all of their employees. As he takes over, he said he’s going to focus on revitalizing the club.

“I’m going to go through the whole place and focus on what needs attention,” he said. “The goal is to build on what’s here and build a membership base and grow the club.”

Mabardy said he’s not sure yet what he will add to existing services at the Health Club of Concord. Renovations and changes will happen in “baby steps,” he said.

“I’m going to ask my customers what they want to see,” he said.

For more information about the Health Club of Concord, call 224-7787.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

Legacy Comments1

Long time member. I would like to see a water-tight tennis facility with new ceilings, court (net) dividers and curtains, repaired doors, patches and paint on wall surfaces, stanchions and beams. A fresh looking three court tennis facility will draw players back to the club who left due to the above problems. I wish the new owner well and as I high-level club tennis player I would like to begin inviting friends to a much nicer place to play tennis. Esthetics are important, so the front desk area needs a good overhaul too. I know there will be many people with input on locker rooms, the pool area and other activities at the HCC. I am hoping the new owner sends letters in the mail introducing himself, his ideas and a comment form for us to mail back to the club.

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