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North Bay Business Journal

Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 4:20 pm

Fitness clubs shift to nonprofit wellness center

Benefit corporation is designed to fund neighborhood

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    Santa Rosa Strength & Conditioning at 808 Donahoe

    Classes resumed at Santa Rosa Strength & Conditioning’s new location at 808 Donahoe St. in Santa Rosa in January. (courtesy of Santa Rosa Strength & Conditioning)

    SANTA ROSA — Two unconventional Santa Rosa fitness clubs are on the move to an equally unconventional wellness center in 25,000 square feet of a winery-turned-warehouse in the West End neighborhood of Santa Rosa.

    a Rosa Strength & Conditioning, aka CrossFit Santa Rosa, entry at 808 Donahoe

    The entry for Santa Rosa Strength & Conditioning, aka CrossFit Santa Rosa, in the former DeTurk Winery building. (courtesy of CrossFit Santa Rosa)

    Santa Rosa Strength & Conditioning (707-542-7725, crossfitsantarosa.com), also known as CrossFit Santa Rosa, and LiveFit Boot Camp (707-408-2778, livefitbootcamp.com) have become the heavy-lifters for West End Wellness Center, a nonprofit community benefit corporation set up by the property owner to fill the building, provide a gathering point for training in fitness, nutrition and other aspects of health, and funnel proceeds to the West End Neighborhood Association.

    Gym needed more parking

    Santa Rosa Strength & Conditioning leased 6,000 square feet of the former DeTurk Winery building at 808 Donahue St. in mid-January. Started seven years ago, the gym doubled in size in the move from a 3,000-square-foot warehouse space at 1005 Cleveland Ave. a couple of blocks north. The club has more than 100 in training and five trainers.

    “I’ve used growth to reinvest in the company,” said owner Joanna Sapir, 39, a weightlifter. The business has not needed to take loans, she said.

    LiveFit’s new indoor life

    In mid-February, LiveFit Boot Camp signed a lease for 7,000 square feet of that building, which is located across the street from the DeTurk Round Barn park. Work on the gym is set to start this month for an opening in a few months.

    It’s a pilot indoor gym concept for a 6-year-old business that operates from a half-dozen outdoor locations in Sonoma and Marin counties, according to Jeffrey Sears, 30, who started the company with fellow Sonoma State University kinesiology graduate Jaron Eliopoulos, 29.

    “Some people like the outdoors, and some people like being inside in a controlled environment,” Mr. Sears said. “Everyone is entitled to his or her needs for fitness.”

    LiveFit has more than 300 participants. Fifty to 100 try it out in any given month, and about half stick with it, he said.

    Center could pay neighborhood group

    Ancillary to the gyms in the wellness center will be meeting rooms for dance and yoga classes and for specialists and more than 7,500 square feet of space for restaurants or brewpubs, according to Richard Deringer, a principal of property owner Railroad Square Village, LLC.

    A Marin County chiropractor is said to be interested in leasing space there, he said.

    When the wellness center is fully operational and tenant-improvement costs are covered, it may be able to pass along up $3,000 to $4,000 a month to the neighborhood association, according to Mr. Deringer.

    It might take as long as several years until that happens, because of startup and other expenses and depreciation, according to Carol Dean, an association board member and part of the wellness center board.

    “We are hopeful the gym will be good for neighbors who want to go to the gym and that the gym will bring people into this neighborhood to discover what a little jewel we are,” Ms. Dean said.

    The association reviews commercial tenancy and development plans on properties from North Dutton Avenue east to Highway 101 and north to south between West Sixth Street and College Avenue. Funded by voluntary dues and business sponsors of the newsletter and website, the association has taken on projects such as sprucing up DeMeo Park.

    An open house for the fitness center is set for March 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to coincide with the seasonal start of the West End Farmer’s Market.

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