5HF to Sell Dexter Wellness Center


The Dexter Wellness Center is up for sale.

Five Healthy Towns Foundation (5HF) announced today that its board of directors has decided to sell the center to protect the foundation's assets in the face of the economic downturn that has hit the region. This decision comes after many months of analyzing how the economic downturn across the region is affecting operations financially.

“This difficult decision was made to protect the long-term viability of 5 Healthy Towns Foundation today and in the future, to assure that the Foundation would continue with its founding mission to support and foster a culture of wellness across the region,” says board chairperson Patrick Conlin.

The board considered many issues in its decision. The drop in membership during and since the pandemic, numerous discussions on other purposes the building could offer the community through shared use agreements with other non-profits and organizations, and a complete financial evaluation of the anticipated impact on the future of the Foundation’s assets were integral parts of the discussion.

According to Steve Petty, 5HF CEO, “this decision is the culmination of months of review by our board and ultimately led to the difficult decision to sell the center. When Dexter Wellness Center was opened in 2013, it served as a very visible example of 5HF’s commitment to supporting physical activity and wellness. As the board completed its strategic review, it was determined that the center was not immune to the economic conditions being experienced by so many businesses across our region. Unfortunately, the decision to list the property for sale was necessary in preserving the assets of the Foundation and continue to support health and wellness initiatives across the 5 Healthy Towns region for generations to come.”

5 Healthy Towns Foundation started as the “Chelsea Health and Wellness Foundation” in 2008, the result of the merger of Chelsea Community Hospital with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. The Foundation was to be used “in promoting health, wellness and fitness education, health care initiatives and other community-based activities” in the hospital’s designated service areas of Chelsea, Manchester, Stockbridge, Grass Lake, and Dexter.

At 46,000 square feet, the Dexter Wellness Center, located at 2810 Baker Road, dwarfs 5HF’s other wellness centers in Chelsea, Manchester, and Stockbridge. The state-of-the-art facility provides members and guests access to a pool, saunas, gymnasium, strength and aerobic equipment, massage, Pilates, yoga, spinning, other group classes, and many amenities. The center offers scholarships for underserved demographics as part of its public service mission.

Despite the sale, Petty maintains the center will remain open with full services for existing and new members. The building can also be used by local non-profits for programming after hours, at no cost, pending availability. Members and staff have been informed of the decision, and 5HF has stated that it “will continue to work transparently with staff and community members to evaluate future options for the building.”

"We continue to explore all opportunities locally and are hopeful that we can work with a buyer who shares our vision for strengthening personal and community wellness for Dexter residents. We anticipate that the sale process could take many months," said Petty.

There are no changes to 5HF's operations in Chelsea or Stockbridge, and Dexter members already enjoy full access to those wellness center locations. The foundation affirms its commitment to supporting health and wellness initiatives across the 5 Healthy Towns region for future generations.

Photo by Doug Marrin

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