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Gym opens after weighty concerns

The 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport center faced community and legal challenges during its development.

July 26, 2011|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
  • Richard Gonzalez, right, trains with Adam Rinne during a grand opening at 24 Hour Fitness in Burbank on Saturday, July 23, 2011. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
Richard Gonzalez, right, trains with Adam Rinne during…

After facing initial rejection and then litigation, the new 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport center in Burbank opened on Saturday.

The 40,000-square-foot gym, located at 1903 W. Empire Ave., has an indoor lap pool, full-sized outdoor basketball court and a variety of strength and cardio equipment with personal viewing screens on some machines. There is also a retail shop, personal training area, sauna, steam room, whirlpool and a baby-sitting service for children ages six months to 12.

At the gym’s opening, Mayor Jess Talamantes referenced the club’s rocky journey to fruition.

“Obviously, it’s been a long ordeal for this final product,” he said. “When I came here and saw this building, it was a shell, and now the transformation has taken place. It’s unbelievable.”

Tony Wells, chief marketing officer for 24 Hour Fitness, told fitness buffs that the company was committed to being transparent with its pricing, maintaining a good standing with the Better Business Bureau and staying open 24 hours.

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The City Council rejected plans for the gym in January 2010, but told developer Brett Warner he could resubmit a revised proposal the next month. The new plans included parking concessions and a commitment that areas designated for child care, office space and retail would not be converted to workout space.

On May 18, 2010, the council approved the sports club in a 3-2 vote.

A few months later, Burbank Athletic Club owner David Bedrossian and longtime city critic Mike Nolan filed a lawsuit, contending the council’s approval of the gym violated city law. They claimed the council should have sent the revised plans back to the Planning Board before voting a second time.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed the case about five months later.

Carlos Santamaria and his wife, Melissa, worked out Saturday at the new gym, which is closer to their home than the Burbank Athletic Club, which they said they usually frequent.

The new gym, they said, was cleaner and nicer than others they have visited, and they liked the easy access from the locker room to the pool and second-story basketball court.

“It’s going to be great,” Carlos Santamaria said. “It’s going to be a lot of competition for other gyms in Burbank.”

 
 

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