Where/How Does the Smart City Club Focus its Evolution?

City Clubs: Evolving in Close Quarters

Private city clubs are facing issues similar to country clubs — the need to attract younger members, increased emphasis on casual dining, the need to be more technologically sophisticated to meet the needs of their members and maintain or grow their meeting businesses.

Q: With more finite spaces to consider than their country club brethren, where or how does the smart city club focus its evolution?

Reconcepting dining spaces into more exciting and lively spaces that allow them to compete with area venues.

Dick Heise, Architect, Director of Club Studio

Allow for spontaneity — ensure there’s always an available space to gather even if other areas are reserved for private events.

Bob Hickman, Chairman, Interior Designer

Casual, casual, casual.
Younger professionals, especially, won’t dress up just to go to the club after work.—Chad Flickinger, Interior Designer

Rebalance. Look at the revenue stream for your club and consider reallocating spaces to maximize revenue potential.

—Rick Snellinger, President & CEO, Master Planner

Redefine the parameters of membership. Offer reciprocal memberships with comparable clubs — especially those with varied amenities, offer mini memberships to graduate students at local universities, or target businesses that are starting up in your area with trial memberships.

Patricia Sampson, Managing Director

Video conferencing, media rooms, audio visual capabilities and the like.

Bob Doyle, Architect

Reach out beyond the membership to host events that bring new faces (and potential new members) to the club. Make sure they leave with information on how to join — perhaps at a discounted rate.For instance:

  • Invite established groups to host their meetings and gatherings at the club — the local Rotary or Lions Club, Junior League and university alumni groups.
  • Organize events that combine the club with other activities, like dinner at the club, the symphony, then back for dessert.
  • Host events for the younger set (30/40) — a musical performance or talk by a local artist or museum curator, a presentation on how and where to travel with kids, business mentoring “speed dating,” etc.
  • Coordinating through local chapters of professional associations, host dinners for young attorneys, doctors, real estate agents or developers, etc.

Steven Sutor, Senior Interior Design Associate


Establish quiet areas within the club where a member can work on a laptop for an hour or two between appointments.

—Chris Smith, Architect

Even skyscrapers can offer flexible options — think of them in different ways to offer member options. We created a “loft” bar on the 32nd floor for one of our clients.  We’re working on a rooftop terrace for another.

—Rick Snellinger, President & CEO, Master Planner

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