Robbie Segler, of Houston, has wanted to bring a Planet Fitness to Victoria for the past three years.
He hopes to open a 20,000-square-foot Planet Fitness in May or June at the shopping center at North Navarro Street and Sam Houston Drive where Hastings, which closed in October 2016, used to be.
“Victoria is an ideal location for us,” he said. “We’ve been really successful in bringing a big brand to what is considered a smaller town.”
Planet Fitness caters to regular people, Segler said, and is not for powerlifters or bodybuilders. More than 40 percent of people who attend Planet Fitness have never worked out at a gym before, he said.
“Planet Fitness establishes a judgment-free zone,” said Segler, who owns Planet Fitness franchises in East Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. “Our focus – you will see everyday America. You don’t feel intimidated. A lot of people feel like they have to work out before they go to the gym, and they just don’t feel comfortable. Planet Fitness is the gym (where) you can go and feel totally comfortable.”
The gym will have more than 100 pieces of cardio equipment and unlimited personal training for members, he said. The gym will also have a spa area with tanning beds and massage chairs.
John Kaminski, assistant city manager, said as of a week ago, Planet Fitness officials had not yet applied for a permit for the interior finish of the building. The property developer, Brixmor Property Group, had applied for a permit to section off the old Hastings space into three rental spaces, with Planet Fitness taking up most of the space.
“When we lose a retailer, especially one the size of Hastings, it’s always a positive thing to get the space reused and filled up again,” he said. “Getting the majority of that square footage filled up with Planet Fitness – that’s just going to drive more traffic to that center and really should strengthen the center overall.”
Kaminski remembers meeting with Planet Fitness officials at the International Council of Shopping Centers Conference in November in Dallas, and the deal to come to Victoria was already in the works, he said.
The city of Victoria was represented at the conference alongside the Retail Coach, an agency that has worked with city officials to market Victoria for about five years, said Aaron Farmer, agency senior vice president.
Farmer said Planet Fitness is affordable and brings more options to the community. It also adds a national name to the market, which encourages other businesses to come to Victoria. Other developers and retailers are interested in bringing business to the city in 2018, he said.
“The city of Victoria is looking to increase sales tax dollars in the community, and this helps,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in Victoria. The old Office Depot space in town is going to turn into something sooner than later.”
Posted by: Victoria Advocate Jan. 17 2018 by Kathryn Kargo