The steps are in place and it may just be formalities before a new gym replaces a massive vacant storefront on Ridge Avenue.
"We've had very cooperative meetings. They want to do something good for the commercial corridor, and we're behind it," RDC Executive Director Bernard Guet said Monday.
On Thursday, Central Roxborough Civic Association President Ed Hothman said the company worked well with the RDC to answer neighborhood concerns. He said he was happy to defer to Guet's opinion, as the civic backs the plan.
Planet Fitness introduced a plan in December to takeover the Golden Chrysler Plymouth Dealership, which has sat vacant for several years. Membership would start at $10 a month.
At a civic meeting in February, neighbors supported the plan, but needed better info on property use, traffic and safety.
Since then, the gym worked with residents and the RDC to get on the same page.
Guet said one talking point was greening.
"We talked a lot about about landscaping, and we're in agreement on how to make it nice," he said. "It's looks very good. We're exited to have something here."
Hothman said there were talks to create a sign similar to Crossroads Coffeehouse, which is ascetically pleasing without lighting. At this point, Guet said signage is down the road.
"They wanted to be sure we're behind them before zoning," he said. "After that, they will come back with more details on the sign."
Traffic and Safety
Unlike with late-night bars, Guet said he doesn't see a negative impact from a 24-hour gym.
"It's a positive for a lot of people. If you work late, you can go exercise. It's not like it'll be noisy. People are inside and quiet. When they leave, they are not creating a problem."
Property owner previously advocated that a 24-hour business creates eyes and ears to monitor Ridge Avenue—not harm it.
Planet Fitness would take up a sizable chunk of real estate within commercial corridor. Though traffic will increase, Guet said the RDC tried to lessen the impact in negotiations.
He said entrances on both Ridge and Leverington streets will help. Additionally, those exiting the lot from Ridge Avenue will be prohibited from making a left turn.
Guet added the staggered schedule will alleviate a Planet Fitness jam.
"They won't have 100 people there all the time. It's a different flow than a typical gym—not everyone jamming there at 6 p.m.," he said.
The Next Steps
Guet said zoning is the next step. However, Planet Fitness isn't yet on the Philadelphia Zoning Adjustment Board hearing list for April.
Either way, the RDC is supporting it, whenever it goes before the city.
He said he expects the new gym to open toward the fall or the end of the year.
To read the Planet Fitness plan, click on this story.