Representatives for Planet Fitness outlined their plans to take over the below-grade space at 361 Newbury St. formerly occupied by the Boston Sports Club and transform it into a 24-hour gym during the Monday, Jan. 3, meeting of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay License and Building Use Committee Meeting, which was held virtually.
Chase Villafana, director of construction and property management at Planet Fitness New York, Massachusetts, California, and Hawaii, said they intend to occupy 20,000 square feet on two stories – the basement-level gym space, as well as the sub-basement level – and would stay within the same footprint as the former Boston Sports Club. A single entrance at the street level would provide access to the facility, which expected to have an occupancy of no more 300 people, due to the constraints of the gym equipment.
The hours for the proposed Newbury Street outpost would mirror the round-the-clock operations of Planet Fitness’s first Boston location at 17 Winter St. (In contrast, the hours of operation for the former Boston Sports Club at 361 Newbury St. were 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, according to the company’s Facebook page.)
Like the Winter Street location, the proposed Planet Fitness on Newbury Street is expected to see “very light traffic” between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m., said Villafana, and the gym’s clientele is expected almost exclusively to come from the area, and to take public transportation to get there, as was the case with the former Boston Sports Club.
“The company ethos is to have people be able to access the gym at any time of day,” said Villafana, who added that the off-hours would likely appeal to someone like a doctor or an international stockbroker.
Planet Fitness is seeking to expand to Newbury Street because they feel its “an underserved area in terms of gyms and health clubs,” said Villafana, and the proposed 24-hour operations at that location would “follow the lines of our other stores to have inclusivity…but obviously, it costs us more money operating overnight.”
Sean Curran, a project consultant, said Planet Fitness also promotes “economic inclusivity,” with its low membership costs, and as a result, many people who use the Winter Street gym get there on foot or bicycle, or via public transportation. Less than 4 percent of people who use the Winter Street location currently drive there, he said.
The new Planet Fitness on Newbury Street would offer group training classes free to its members, but no aerobics or spin classes, said Villafana, and while there would be low-level background music, it isn’t expected to have any sound impact outside the facility.