Ontario Racquet Club Increases Their Membership By 20% With Retractable Roof from OpenAire

OAKVILLE, Ontario, April 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The $30–billion health and fitness industry in America has been growing by 3 to 4% annually for the last ten years. And, it shows no signs of slowing down, according to the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association). In a Forbes interview, Crunch Franchise CEO, Ben Midgley, said that 20% of American adults have a fitness club membership and that number can easily double in the next 10 to 15 years.

One challenge health and fitness club owners and managers face is growing their memberships. While marketing and new equipment can bring in new members, the most sustainable way to increase club membership and, therefore, revenue is to make smart improvements to your club.

“Retractable roof structures give you the ability to open your facility up during warm weather and provide views to the outdoors. People have a deep need to go back to nature and what better way to do this than in a temperature–controlled environment with a translucent, retractable roof,” says Mark Albertine, the President, and CEO of the retractable roof system designer and installer, OpenAire.

Thousands of retractable roof projects across the globe are currently underway, many of which were YMCAs, municipal recreation centers, and other health and sports facilities.

“These clubs have been able to increase their memberships thanks to being able to offer year–round pool days, improved air quality, and a better experience for members. We predict that retractable roofs will become the status quo for the industry–leading health and fitness clubs in the future,” says Albertine.

A Case Study

The Ontario Racquet Club (ORC) has long been renowned for its outstanding indoor and outdoor sports facilities in the Greater Toronto Area. They wanted to expand their facilities to include a new aquatic center as well as exceed their members greatest expectations with their facility improvements.

OpenAire designed and installed a curved motorized retractable roof enclosure over the ORC’s new aquatic center, which boasts a 25–meter–long Junior Olympic pool, a brand–new patio, a small children’s splash pad, a BBQ pit, extensive lounge area, and a beautiful waterfall feature.

The new center with its retractable roof system allows everyone to enjoy ORC’s aquatic programs all–year–around. It was an instant sensation with members, resulting in a 20% increase in membership at the club.

The company’s retractable roof enclosures are all designed with energy–efficiency in mind. This means that despite the obvious aesthetic factor, they also offer up to 27% savings on energy costs, a perfect pool–temperature of 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 °C) in any weather and guaranteed all–year–around use.

“The health and fitness industry is huge. Those who want to stand out above their competitors and increase their membership will find that a retractable roof can do just the job,” concludes Albertine.

About OpenAire
OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high–quality, retractable roof structures and skylights for 28 years. We bring unique designs to life from concept to installation, transforming buildings into sunlit spaces that customers love. Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, OpenAire is approaching 1,000 projects throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Some of our projects include unique and inviting restaurant skylights and enclosures, such as the Rooftop Bar at the Refinery Hotel in New York NY (which achieved the #1 ranking in the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Hotel Rooftop Bar 2015); the Crooked Cue Pool Hall and Pub in Toronto ON; Gusto 101 in Toronto ON; the WaTiki Brown Rock Restaurant in Rapid City SD; LOCAL Public Eatery in Toronto ON; The Beer Garden at Ballpark Village in St. Louis MO; Goose Island’s Beer Bridge at Fourth Street Live in Lexington KY; Restoration Hardware’s “RH Gallery” courtyard in Chicago IL; and Pizza Express in Jersey Isle UK. More restaurants projects are currently under construction, including Boston Pizza in Toronto ON, Kelly’s Landing in Toronto ON; Barcelona Tavern in Toronto ON; and MOXY in Washington D.C. To learn more about OpenAire Inc., visit https://openaire.com/ and follow us on Twitter. For more details on this project, please e–mail sales@openaire.com. 

For more information contact:
OpenAire
T: 905–901–8535 TF: 1–800–267–4877
E: sales@openaire.com

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

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World Bank Financialization Strategy Serves Big Finance

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury
KUALA LUMPUR and SYDNEY, Apr 9 2019 – The World Bank has successfully built a coalition to effectively advance its ‘Maximizing Finance for Development’ (MFD) agenda. The October 2018 G20 Eminent Persons Group’s (EPG) report includes proposals to better coordinate various international financial institutions (IFIs) in promoting financialization.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram

MDB midwives of financialization
The MFD approach wants multilateral development banks (MDBs) to actively re-shape developing countries’ financial systems to better ‘complement’ global finance. MDBs have already urged developing countries to encourage local institutional investors by redesigning pension systems along lines inspired by US private pensions. Thus, MDBs have been:

    • influencing what projects are deemed ‘bankable’, probably prioritizing large infrastructure over smaller projects.
    • enabling securitization to transform bankable projects into tradable securities, generating more revenues and strengthening global finance.
    • persuading developing country governments to finance subsidies and other ‘de-risking’ measures designed by MDBs to guarantee private financial profits.
    • determining how developing countries supply securities preferred by transnational banks and institutional investors.

G20 financialization proposals
The main G20 EPG proposals for collaboration to promote financialization include:

    • IFIs working together to increase the supply of bankable projects and to share data and information to support infrastructure data platforms needed to securitize MDB loans.
    • IFIs should provide risk insurance to increase the number of bankable projects stuck due to high political risk. This requires government guarantees against ‘political risks’ to be more attractive to re-insurers.

As securitization of MDB loans involves tradable assets with different credit ratings for investors with diverse ‘risk appetites’, MDBs are being urged to securitize both private and sovereign loans, and to retain stakes in junior tranches to induce private investments.

Anis Chowdhury

MDBs no longer development banks?
While MDBs should follow recent advice for issuers to remain stakeholders by retaining shares of securitized tranches on their balance sheets, the implications are quite different when MDBs, and not private banks, securitize loans.

As originators, MDBs may politically pressure low- and middle-income country governments to provide de-risking instruments, including guaranteed income from securitized public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects.

World Bank Guidance on PPP Contractual Provisions can burden states and citizens more than any trade or investment agreement or international law. States take on inordinate risk while its right to regulate in the public interest is fettered.

New Washington Consensus?
The Washington-based Center for Global Development (CGD) has similarly discouraged borrowing in its paper for the G20 EPG, ‘More mobilizing, less lending’. Instead, it proposes augmenting MDB private sector windows with special purpose vehicles (SPVs).

The CDG also calls on MDBs to use sovereign lending to promote reforms to make projects financially viable and to help finance the public share of PPPs. Hence, MDBs are pressuring governments to support the MFD with their own fiscal resources.

The recommendations will also make it more difficult to manage systemic vulnerabilities arising from the envisaged securities, repo and derivative markets to be officially promoted.

Various options promoted by the CDG thus involve high risk, high leverage, financialized investors as partners in international development, exposing the MDBs themselves to the vulnerabilities of the MFD approach.

Checks and balances?
The tendency towards concentration in asset management (with economies of scale and scope) is likely to result in US-based asset managers allocating finance globally using considerable institutional investments from developing countries.

The G20 EPG is not unaware that its proposal — to transform developing country financial systems to contribute to the global supply of securities — involves significant systemic risks. Nevertheless, it claims to be seeking to secure the benefits of open financial markets while mitigating systemic vulnerabilities.

Thus, it has called on the IMF to: develop and manage a framework for managing volatile capital flows; create a resilient global ‘safety net’ that can effectively mobilize resources to address financial fragilities; and integrate financial surveillance with an effective early warning system.

However, the EPG paper does not make the shift to securitization conditional on mitigating systemic risks. As its proposed safeguards are largely unrealizable or ineffective, its financial instability concerns do not mean much.

Although recognizing the dangers and vulnerabilities involved at both national and international levels, including the loss of effective sovereign control over financing conditions, the IMF supports the EPG proposals.

Despite the experience of recent financial crises, the IMF continues to preach that freely floating exchange rates can effectively buffer capital flow volatility, while capital controls should only be used after exhausting all monetary and fiscal policy instruments.