Rendering courtesy of the Olympix Fitness Facebook page.
Imagine: it’s early fall in Long Beach, and you’re totally in the zone, taking a rooftop yoga class at a building that used to house Yankee Doodles.
You take a deep breath in. As you move from downward dog pose to standing tree pose, you close your eyes, opening your arms to the sky. You can’t help but open those eyes a peep and look directly forward, where, perched in your spot on the yoga balcony, you see dozens of people running by on the beach path and a few light waves crashing on the Long Beach shoreline. You absorb the view. You exhale.
It’s a premium experience that will be afforded to members of Olympix Fitness, a 25,000 square foot new fitness facility located adjacent to Chuck’s Coffee Shop on Ocean Boulevard.
“This area has been missing something,” said the property’s investor and developer Kurt Schneiter, of Maverick Investments. “This area is known as the ‘armpit’ of Belmont Shore. [...] I’d been looking at this property for over 20 years, and wondered why it couldn’t be more.”
Schneiter, a former track athlete for the University of Oregon, is redeveloping the World War II-era space that has mainly been known for hosting a number of businesses geared toward drinking and darts, including Yankee Doodles (closed since 2013) with business partner Jarrett Tooley (also a former Div. 1 collegiate athlete, having played baseball at Cal State Fullerton). The two are enlisting the help of designer Jan van Dijs and architect Gary Lamb. It’s a promising collaboration, as the same individuals have also worked to revamp other trendy spots such as the Temple Lofts, Fingerprints, Nick’s on Second and Berlin Bistro.
Tooley and Schneiter stand, in the midst of construction, at the Olympix Fitness site in Belmont Shore.
“Jan is really great about maintaining the integrity of a building, and keeping what’s worth keeping,” said Schneiter of his designer friend. It all fits within what Schneiter envisions as a comprehensive complex with a strong Long Beach vibe that will serve to build a sense of community while offering workouts with a view.
“Most health clubs feel overcrowded and have a corporate sameness that personally leaves me unsatisfied,” said Schneiter, elaborating on his reasoning for building a gym. “I believe we deserve something better—a club that has a greater sense of its community with an attention to details, and the space, equipment and staff that allow you to reach one’s fitness goals. Limiting membership will prevent the overcrowding that is experienced at large corporate chain gyms.”
Olympix is set to include state-of-the-art workout equipment and experiences, all with an industrial-chic vibe. Exposed, 30 foot high ceilings will arch above a cardio loft overlooking a rubber floor full of weights and equipment. Tooley and Schneiter were eager to discuss their use of Precor’s Queenax Functional Training base, which will allow participants in numerous fitness classes to customize their workouts based on their own fitness level.
Other workout options include a spin studio, steam rooms in the bathroom/locker rooms, showers with teak floors and lockers with phone charging capacity—all in a space with operable windows that can open to let in the “ocean cross-breeze.”
Those looking for a class that may not fit in one’s schedule can experience a virtual class on screens in certain “mind/body” rooms used for relaxation, stretching or personal fitness space.
The gym is currently hiring trainers for its projected late-summer opening, and Tooley says they will be relying on the base of Cal State Long Beach-trained fitness instructors.
“We know of a few who are currently at gyms in Huntington Beach, even though they live in Long Beach,” he said. “We want to bring them back to the local area.”
Another element of interest to local fitness buffs will be a room on the north side of the building dedicated solely to small group training workouts and competitions—incorporating that sense of “community” for those interested in strength and performance training, but making part of the gym experience for just a few so-inclined.
“Small group, boutique fitness classes are growing because of that community feel,” said Tooley. “We want to bring in the same people.”
However, Tooley and Schneiter said pricing was important to them as well.
“It’s not going to be as expensive as Equinox, but it’s not going to be as inexpensive as LA Fitness,” said Schneiter.
And what about crowding out another place priced in-between the high-end fitness destinations and cheaper, utilitarian 24-hour fitnesses? Like, say, the Belmont Athletic Club?
Tooley, Van Dijs and Schneiter said they’re not looking to put anyone out of business. They emphasized their main goal as offering something new to an untapped market, and providing a variety of high-quality, high-end fitness experiences in one place, an experience that often requires a gym membership and several studio memberships.
“There’s a changing demographic—a new, emerging market,” said Van Dijs. “Young people are moving in, and they’re looking for a different training method. It’s a changing city.”
Schneiter, who said he’s willing to “drive 50 miles for a good gym,” agreed.
“Irvine, Hermosa, Santa Monica...they all have creature comforts: food, great broadband and great fitness,” he said. “People meet their friends here, people meet their significant others here. Gyms are to the 21st Century what bars were years ago.”
Speaking of food: Olympix Fitness will not skimp on that fuel amenity for hungry workout pros, as a trendy cafe is also slated to open on the premises. Food and drink will be planned by none other than Van Dijs’ wife and Berlin Bistro visionary Kerstin Kansteiner. Schneiter said he has high hopes for a community icon who is always innovating, in regards to the cafe, and feels strongly that all elements of his plan will converge seamlessly, creating a unique gym experience.
“My hope is to elevate our life style choices and remind our community how vital our oceanfront is to the livability factor that has always been Long Beach’s calling card,” said Schneiter. “If we make the design interesting enough, more people will not just visit our fitness club, but linger in the immediate area, which will make the area safer and more useful to our community.”
Pre-sale memberships are slated to begin in April, in anticipation of the gym's late summer 2016 opening. For more information on Olympix Fitness, visit their website, here. The company will be offering various promotional challenges, where members can participate and win free apparel thorugh their social media accounts. Visit their Instagram here and their Facebook page here.
Olympix Fitness will be located at 4100 East Ocean Boulevard.
This article was updated on 03/08/16 at 2:16PM with additional information about the small group training sessions Olympix envisions.