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Wynnewood LA Fitness Project Moves Ahead

The Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board approved the gym's conditional use request on Thursday.

A in the Wynnewood Shopping Center is, after six months and much discussion, taking a step forward.

Thursday night, the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board approved a conditional use application to permit a gym use in the old Borders building, currently occupied by Bargain Book Warehouse.

In their presentation in July, LA Fitness and Federal Realty Investment Trust, owners of the Wynnewood Shopping Center, had requested that the gym be permitted to operate 24/7, a request neighboring civic associations took issue with.

In the intervening months, Wynnewood and Shortridge Civic Associations and attorney Ken Aaron had fought for the gym to limit its hours of operation—a condition to which LA Fitness/Federal Realty eventually acquiesced.

In the agreement reached by LA Fitness and the civics in December, the gym agreed that their hours would not exceed:

  • Weekdays: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Zoning Hearing Board's approval of the conditional use application was contingent on the gym adhering to those limited hours of operation.

"We worked very hard and we're delighted," said Teri Simon, president of Wynnewood Civic Association. "We hope we set a good precedent for other neighbors who might have to fight." 

However, the civics didn't win a great victory, Simon said: they were fighting for LA Fitness to reduce its hours of operation to the hours it operates at gyms all over the area.

"It's really kind of a question as to why they decided to pick this fight with a neighborhood that has been very supportive of that shopping center," Simon said.

Overall, though, the civics are pleased with the Zoning Hearing Board's decision.

"We're glad that they have great common sense and they ruled really well for the neighborhood," said Shortridge Civic Association president Joan Hindin.

The Signature LA Fitness in Wynnewood Shopping Center would be the first of its kind in eastern Pennsylvania, LA Fitness Vice President Chad Abramo said in July.

The gym would offer a variety of workout options, including spinning classes, pilates, yoga and Zumba classes—along with towel service and toiletries, a whirlpool and a sauna in the locker room, according to Abramo. Babysitting services for children ages 3 months to 12 years would also be provided while parents are working out.

Abramo said in July that the typical construction period for an LA Fitness is 6 to 9 months.

Take a look at the photo gallery above to see the tentative floor plans of the new LA Fitness, as presented at the July 12 Zoning Hearing Board meeting.

Ursula-Nicole January 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM
I was hoping for upscale retail. Not overly excited about this move.
Philomena Baylor January 13, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Great news! Finally! What a win for Wynnewood that there is going to be a great new gym!
Luke Ratchford February 16, 2013 at 04:13 PM
I was also hoping for a more "upscale" kind of gym. Not 100% thrilled with the decision. However it is still giving Lower Merion a new place to workout and I am sure the facility will be quite impressive nevertheless.

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