P&Z approves $5 million project at Darien club
Published 12:10 pm, Sunday, July 13, 2014
The projects -- which will cost $5 million -- will start in September, first with the lifting of the bath house. The project is anticipated to be completed in May 2015.
The second project includes lifting and renovating the clubhouse, which will start in September 2015 and is expected to be completed in May 2016.
"We have tons of lockers that don't get used and a structure that was built 80 years ago that frankly needs to go away," said Wilder Gleason, an attorney is representing the Tokeneke Club.
The Tokeneke Club, which was built in 1927, was intended to house a swimming pool, but the pool never came to fruition due to a lack of funds. Where the pool would have been was converted into a dance floor, according to the application Gleason filed with the Planning and Zoning Department.
"The old structure includes numerous lockers and related improvements ill suited to the needs of the current club members," Gleason wrote. "It is an unsightly poured concrete structure with a suspect foundation. Its steel reinforcing is exposed due to cracking walls."
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The large family lockers will be removed and in their place changing rooms and smaller portable lockers will be installed. In the event of a major storm, the lockers can be transported to be kept out of the way of potential flooding.
Additionally, the tennis house, which was constructed in the 1950s, will be renovated.
According to the application, the plan is to raze the tennis house, the administrative offices and a portion of the clubhouse. A new addition will be added to the restaurant to house the facilities that are being razed and will provide for additional amenities.
"We want to keep the dance floor and open-air attributes of the existing clubhouse," Gleason said.
The administrative offices will be moved to the second floor -- as per Federal Emergency Management Agency standards -- since they nearly flooded during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, according to the application. The tennis courts at the club frequently flood, Gleason said.
Following Superstorm Sandy, Gleason said much of the beaches surrounding the Tokeneke Club were washed up into the club's parking lot, and tennis courts and paved lots needed repair. Gleason said there was also significant damage to the cabanas and the pool house was damaged.
Gleason said the club was "very fortunate" to have insurance cover much of the repair costs.
The Tokeneke Club is in a velocity flood zone and is susceptible to major waves crashing onto the property during 100-year storms.
Gleason said he is confident that the club can finance the project "through a combination of factors."
"We're trying to make this work so everyone's voice is heard," Gleason said.