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Gold's Gym to lease at 100 N Laura

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Gold's Gym going downtown

National chain to take advantage of commuters at former Barnett Bank building.

By CHRISTOPHER CALNAN

The Times-Union

Gold's Gym is muscling in on Jacksonville's downtown revitalization.

The national chain of health clubs plans to open a 20,000 square-foot gym on the first and second floors of the former Barnett Bank building at 100 N. Laura St. in early 2005, the building's owner said Wednesday.

Gold's Gym, one of the largest chain of gyms in the world, already operates a club on the Southside. But the gym's owner wants to operate a downtown health club to take advantage of a growing market.

"There's a rebirth essentially going on down there and we want to be a part of that," Lee Kaplan said. "It's really kind of a natural progression."

Started in 1965

Gold's Gym started in Venice, Calif., in 1965. In July, Irving, Texas-based TRT Holdings bought Gold's Gym International for about $158 million, according to Hoover's Online.

The 10-story building, built in 1962, is now headquarters of the Jacksonville Bank. It's owned by ABS Laura LLC.

Kaplan said his group owns 15 Gold's Gyms. The Laura Street gym will be operated similar to a gym the group owns in Baltimore. Operating hours and programs will be set to accommodate people working in nearby offices.

"Everything will be geared toward people who commute to work," he said.

Gold's Gym International Inc. operates more than 540 health clubs in the United States, 54 gyms in Florida, according to Gold's Web site.

The overwhelming majority are owned and operated by investors like Kaplan, 38 are corporate-owned, Gold's Gym spokeswoman Raluca State said Wednesday.

In Jacksonville, Kaplan's group operates a Gold's on Baymeadows Road that it opened two years ago to replace a smaller gym they operated on Philips Highway. The group also owned a Gold's Gym on Blanding Boulevard in 1998 or 1999, which it later sold before it closed, Kaplan said.

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This is fantastic news. Not only does it bring a much needed service/amenity to the core of downtown, it will be a boost to the prospects for Laura Place. Not to mention taking out 20,000 sq. ft from the office market. I estimate this building to be around 35-40% occupied once they move in.

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Yes this is great news indeed. Another thing is does, is put more people on the street in that area, after regular work hours. It, along with the residential projects underway nearby, will also make the area more viable for other service oriented businesses like dry cleaners, pharmacies, etc. Its a beautiful thing to see downtown finally start to turn things around.

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This is great news for downtown. But I thought Shogun was going to move into 100 Laura. Anyways, this will be nice for the residences that don't have on-site fitness centers. It's almost like an added amenity.

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While I believe any investment is great for our downtown.A gym would not be high on my list.I think 11E and the other residential developments already have some kind workout facilities even though they did say they were going to cater to the sububan commuter.Not too sure what that means. I also thought the YMCA on Riverside was going to move to the core at some point also.I wish them all luck & success.

Hell, i've put on an extra 20lbs in the last year,maybe i'll join up.

I really want a good market(produce,meat,gourmet or specialty)in the core area.

Does anyone have info on the project opening of the Burrito Gallery.I love a good burrito.

Springfield since 1998

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While I believe any investment is great for our downtown.A gym would not be high on my list.I think 11E and the other residential developments already have some kind workout facilities even though they did say they were going to cater to the sububan commuter.Not too sure what that means. I also thought the YMCA on Riverside was going to move to the core at some point also.I wish them all luck & success.

  Hell, i've put on an extra 20lbs in the last year,maybe i'll join up.

I really want a good market(produce,meat,gourmet or specialty)in the core area.

  Does anyone have info on the project opening of the Burrito Gallery.I love a good burrito.

  Springfield since 1998

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

While 11E does have a nice fitness facility, you can only use it if you live there. Same thing for Berkman Plaza and the Carlington. Memebership to Gold's would be open to downtown office workers(I think thats what is meant by suburban commuters), downtown residents, or anyone else with the $.

Also, while 11E, Berkman and Carlington all have fitness facilities, and there is a Y branch in the Bank of America tower, none of them will compare with Gold's in terms of size, equipment or classes.

The YMCA main branch on Riverside Ave. has been considering moving across the street into a new building. They were trying to do a project jointly with St. Joe. Nothing lately has come out about that. However, with a new competitor in their vicinity, they would likely feel pressure to move ahead with it.

A new YMCA on Riverside would be much bigger than even the new Gold's. Thus downtown could have some of the best choices citywide of fitness facilities.

The point is, downtown workers will be staying downtown after 5 to workout, after which they will be hungry. LaCena, Mudville Grill, Burrito Gallery, and the Japanese steakhouse in the Knight building, should see a lift in nighttime business from that.

UrbanCore is a partner in the Burrito Gallery project. He can fill you in. Also, they have a great website. It is theurbancore.com.

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I think that having a fitness club downtown might help new developments. If new residential projects don't plan on including on-site fitness facilities, they can compensate with Gold's being in the neighborhood. It's a plus for nearby residences without gyms.

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I think that having a fitness club downtown might help new developments.  If new residential projects don't plan on including on-site fitness facilities, they can compensate with Gold's being in the neighborhood.  It's a plus for nearby residences without gyms.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Knight building and the Lerner building now under construction being two examples.

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