New Garden of the Gods Club owners plan ‘wellness center’ that would be open to public

       Judy Mackey and Brenda Smith, the new owners of the Garden of the Gods Club, plan to put at least $6 million into renovations, with an initial focus on building a wellness center that will be open to the public.

Judy Mackey

Brenda Smith

       Their efforts will be supported by a group of local investors, including Lyda Hill, whose father Al started the club and the Kissing Camels residential community after World War II.
       Lyda Hill had sold the club - along with roughly 300 acres of undeveloped land - to the Sunrise Company and Thomas Schmidt LLC in 2007.
       The Mackey-Smith purchase consists of the club's main building, a 27-hole golf course with a clubhouse and an 83-room hotel. Sunrise-Schmidt retain the raw land, with development continuing in collaboration with a homebuilding company that started last year. (See story, Page 4.)
       Mackey and Smith have owned or managed different businesses in Colorado Springs for a number of years. They decided to partner in the purchase after working together on a “major national project for the last few years,” Smith said.
       Their main inspiration to buy the club was the opportunity to “open a wellness center in the setting at the Garden of the Gods and to do something proactive on health rather than reactive,” Mackey said. Such a facility focuses on “the whole person, mind, body and soul.”
       The center (like the club's spa) “will be available to Garden of the Gods Club members and to the community as well,” said Mackey, who has been a member herself since 1989. She and Smith envision the center as an attraction not just for locals but for people from other states, who will “stay at our facility and go to the center.”
       They have both personally benefited from wellness centers elsewhere, they said.
       The concept is for a facility of about 15,000 square feet. A design is still in the planning stages. “We will share it with our members [numbering 1,400 in all] in November,” Mackey said. The goal is to have the center ready for use by the fourth quarter of 2014.
       Future renovations to existing Garden of the Gods Club offerings will “probably touch all aspects,” Mackey said, including the dining facility, hotel and golf course.
       Any improvements will follow up on about $9 million in upgrades that Sunrise put into the club and its grounds, according to Dirk Gosda, an executive with the company. He said the club had improved its profitability during Sunrise's six years owning it, but the company's main interest is in land development. “We felt it was a good time to sell the club,” he said. “We found what we think is a great buyer.”

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