By Colleen Sparks
A gym Sunnyslope has been buzzing about since late last year is finally open in a shopping center that is home to one of the oldest original Walgreens stores in the Valley.
Planet Fitness, part of a national chain built on an affordable “no frills” concept, was expected to open late last month in the commercial center at 8905 N. 7th St. The center on the east side of 7th Street, just south of Dunlap Avenue, has struggled in recent years after losing a large tenant, Goodwill, along with a Radio Shack a few years ago. However, the opening of the award-winning Little Miss BBQ in a freestanding building has generated positive attention for the site since it opened there in November of last year.
The shopping center also was acquired in November of last year for $3.3 million, not including the Little Miss BBQ building, which the restaurant owns.
Founded in 1992 in Dover, N.H., Planet Fitness aims to offer friendly, welcoming environments where people of all different fitness levels can feel comfortable. The gym began franchising in 2003 and as of March of this year had more than 13.6 million members and 1,806 stores in 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama.
Anyone who signs up for a membership at the Planet Fitness in Sunnyslope through the end of August can take advantage of a special of just $1 down, which normally costs $49 for the one-time joining fee. The regular membership is always $10 a month, giving clients access to any equipment, free small group classes and one-on-one training with personal trainers. For $21.99 a month, Planet Fitness members receive all those services, as well as use of deep-tissue massage chairs, HydroMassage equipment, tanning beds and Total Body Enhancement machines, where people step into a booth and experience vibrations to relax and build muscles, explains Scott McCreery, Planet Fitness regional director of operations for Arizona.
Besides the Walgreens store, the commercial center on 7th Street also is home to a barber called B&R Hair Etc. and Polish Goodies restaurant. The barber and Polish eatery recently renewed their leases, said Jason Hersker, director of sales and leasing for Capital Asset Management. Capital Asset Management and its partner Rhapsody Ventures of Phoenix own the shopping center except for the Little Miss BBQ building.
McCreery said the shopping center is a great location for Planet Fitness.
“The community’s rebuilding and we’re excited to be in there and try to maintain that and also elevate that,” he said. “We’re providing jobs and a place for people to gather.”
The commercial center is easy to access and offers plenty of parking, McCreery added. Like the other Planet Fitness locations, the Sunnyslope location will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Sunnyslope gym, which is about 20,000 square-feet, has 14 staff members and is always looking for more employees. People can sign up to join Planet Fitness or look for job opportunities at www.planetfitness.com/gyms/phoenix-sunnyslope-az.
The website also will offer details about a grand opening party at the Sunnyslope Planet Fitness when it is scheduled.
Hersker, who is also a partner with Capital Development Group, said some good local and regional fast-casual restaurants and medspas and nail salons have expressed interest in possibly renting space in the shopping center. He said he could not announce those businesses’ names, as they have not signed leases yet. Capital Development Group is the development arm of Capital Asset Management.
“We’ve got a lot of interest,” Hersker said. “We only have two spaces to fill there. We want to make sure we’re vetting everyone properly. We’re reaching out to wireless users, traditional retail, some really good medspas and nail salons out there that do really well on a space like this that don’t require a lot of parking either. On a general level, we’ve had a lot of activity.”