South Tyneside’s biggest gym is to close for a £350,000 refit and the removal of asbestos following its takeover as part of a £21m nationwide deal.
Lifestyle Fitness, which operates its gym of the same name in Cropssgate, South Shields, will shut for three months while the two-story building is fully refurbished.
The company has confirmed asbestos was located during a recent inspection and must be removed by a specialist team.
But it insists the building is safe and will stay open to members until its temporary closure from Saturday, January 20.
When it reopens in the spring, ownership will have switched to The Gym Group, the country’s second largest operator in the low-cost gym market.
The centre is one of 18 sold by Lifestyle Fitness to The Gym Group late last year.
In an email to members confirming the changes, Lifestyle Fitness stressed the refit was part of a general upgrade and rebranding.
It states: “In preparation for the changes an assessment of the building took place and some asbestos was discovered, which needs to be removed by a specialist team before the gym can reopen.
“Our Facilities team have confirmed that the building is safe to use until then, so you can continue to work out as normal.
“The Gym Group will invest over £350,000 in your gym, to ensure you have access to the best fitness equipment and all the facilities you need for a great workout.”
The Gym Group plans to turn the South Shields outlet in a round-the-clock operation by installing new entry pods accessible only through a personalised pin number.
Other changes include the removal of the sauna, café and ladies’ only area, with free weights and functional training areas being expanded.
This is planned to provide a more open, sociable space to work out in.
Existing exercise kit and various classes and studios will remain within the overall rebranding and refurbishment.
During closure, members have been offered free use of two The Gym Group centres in Newcastle.
The Gym Group opened 19 new sites in 2015 and 15 last year, and in Newcastle operates three gyms in the city centre, Gosforth, and Benton.
Other sites included in the Lifestyle Fitness sale include Birmingham, Barnsley, Darlington, Leicester, Hartlepool, Manchester, Preston, Stoke, Wakefield and Wembley, London.
The exact reopening date for South Shields has yet to be confirmed.
No one from The Gym Group could be contacted for comment.