The term “clubhouse” doesn’t typically trigger thoughts of a posh 75,000-square-foot location with four floors, but if Fitler Club founder David Gutstadt’s grand vision plays out according to plan, Philadelphia will soon boast such a space for what Gutstadt calls the “modern urbanite.”
Fitler Club will be an all-in-one home away from home, with fine dining, hotel rooms, coworking offices, event spaces, and 25,000 square feet of fitness space, including a 75-foot lap pool, as but a handful of the high-end amenities for its members.
“David was looking around and realizing that there are great hotels, good members clubs, and plenty of places to work and exercise, but very few of these places have it all,” says lead designer Amanda Potter. “When David realized that none of these clubs were everything, he decided that’s what he wanted Fitler Club to be.”
Potter’s work on the project has been about as “hands-on” as the expression literally implies. “Yesterday, I was walking through the dirt and looking through foundations with our structural engineers to find out exactly where the grade beams will sit to support our pool,” she says, describing just her previous week’s work.
Blueprints of the 1920s industrial building have often amounted to little more than a rough guess of the structure, but Potter says her diverse past experience in architecture and development has prepared her for the technical challenges.
In terms of design, Potter praises Gutstadt’s vision for infusing different spaces within the project with unique character befitting their function—while still maintaining an overall commitment to modern yet playful design. The spaces include a Founders Room, an intimate space where the club’s initial founders will be able to relax and store their favorite bottles of scotch. Elsewhere, Potter and her team are building a bowling alley and arcade, called the Trophy Room, with camaraderie and fellowship in mind; a fine dining restaurant, which will be focused on healthy and elevated cuisine; a gastropub, called the Back Bar, where members can grab a burger and watch their favorite local sports team; and work spaces designed for getting the job done—but with style. The strength of the Fitler Club’s design will be in its variation, Potter says, and its reverence for its hometown.
“There’s an embrace of both Philadelphia’s history and its future,” Potter says. “The building we’re in is an old Hudson Motor Company manufacturing plant. Our design celebrates those bones and that past but weaves it together with sleek, modern elements. I’m really proud of how that mix of old and new will be reflected in the space.”
At press time, Fitler Club planned to open its doors in January 2019, and Potter says its event space already has engagements scheduled. The hotel opening will follow, and Potter says that even now the club is eyeing further expansion. She adds that the advance success is a direct result of the team Gutstadt assembled for the project.
“David’s leadership has been incredible,” Potter says. “We’re on a tight timeline. It’s very complex. But every day we’re working with great people to get it done.”
The Fitler Foundation
Fitler Club’s investors include former NBA All-Star David Robinson’s Admiral Capital Group, which mandates that 10 percent of the group’s earnings go back into the communities in which they thrive.
That’s just the beginning, though. Potter says the number of investors in Fitler Club that engage in philanthropic work is so robust that it just made sense for the club to form its own group, the Fitler Foundation, set on giving back to Philadelphia’s youth and underprivileged. For every member that Fitler Club accrues, $250 is set aside for charity. Additionally, an annual gala will donate all of its proceeds to a charity of the host’s choice, and Potter says contests will be held for members vying for their favorite charities.
“The people who we’re targeting as members are leaders in their community,” Potter says. “We’re looking for leaders and people who are interested in and passionate about giving back.”
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