The club, which opened in 1987, is shutting its doors June 30. Founding member Bruce Cook, one of 871 members, said he received a letter Thursday saying the club was closing due to financial reasons.
Located in the Overlook III building off Paces Ferry Road, the club offers a fitness center, spa, dining room and meeting and event space. Owned and operated by Club Management Enterprises LLC, it has hosted special events, including weddings.
“There are new owners taking over and they’re putting several thousands of dollars of renovations in,” Cook said Sunday. “I don’t know if they wanted the Vinings Club to upgrade or use the Vinings Club space for their office space to rent. I think it’s a mistake (on) the Overlook management’s part to close the Vinings Club without a substitute. I think it will create a bad faith with the Vinings community that people are more concerned with the bottom line of leasing space than having a club here, if that’s the case.”
Cook believes Overlook should contact an organization such as the Ritz-Carlton that could take over ownership or management of the club.
“My question is did Overlook management do this?” Cook asked.
“Are they only concerned with the bottom line of putting in offices? It would show they don’t understand how significant the Vinings Club is to the community. It’s a sense of family community that’s going to be lost and the end of an era. I have heard they’re going to have a fitness center for the tenants of the Overlook only.”
Joanne Robblee, the incoming president of the Rotary Club of Vinings, which meets at the club for lunch each Wednesday, said she received a phone call Thursday from Stevie Rabun, the club’s events director, who said it was closing.
The Rotary Club’s last meeting at the Vinings Club is tonight’s annual dinner, where it will install new officers and hand out its annual Vinings Citizen of the Year Award. Robblee said the Rotary Club was not having a lunch meeting Wednesday and has canceled its July 2 meeting. She has been going to the Vinings Club since 2006, when she joined the Rotary Club.
“We’re very disappointed,” Robblee said of the closing. “We … have had a wonderful relationship with them over the years. It’s a bit of a shock. … The entire building has been purchased by a builder. They have done some major renovations in the building and more to come, from what I gather.
“We’re scrambling to find a new home but these people we’ve worked with, they’re going to lose their jobs on June 30. We’re feeling very much for them. It’s a tough time.”
Cook said the Vinings Club has about 40 employees and he is reaching out to them and similar businesses nearby to help them get jobs.
“I think they’ve made a huge mistake they’re going to regret,” he said of its management/ownership. “They don’t understand the significance of the Vinings community by not replacing this club. They’re going to regret it in a lot of different ways: socially, financially and morally.”
Phone and email messages to Vinings Club Managing Director Harold Drennon Friday seeking comment on the club’s closing and the building owner’s plans for the club space were not returned.