Planet Fitness may still work out for Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN — The Planet Fitness project first announced for the Johnstown Mall in 2015, may still be alive for 2018.

City Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Heberer said Wednesday the project is “still on,” from his vantage point.

Newington, N.H.-based Planet Fitness is a chain of fitness centers, with the closest in the town of Amsterdam. It signed a lease in June 2016 with Michael Wachs Associates, which owns the Johnstown Mall.

A 15,365-square-foot Planet Fitness project at the Johnstown Mall on Route 30A was first announced in September 2015. Area residents have been wondering when the new health center is to be constructed.

But for various reasons, most not made public, the project hasn’t gathered steam. The mall owner sued to have the mall’s assessment lowered. There have been reported Planet Fitness franchise issues that remain unresolved at the corporate level, those associated with the project have said.

“They’re still in negotiations,” Heberer said this week.

Pennsylvania-based mall owner Michael Wachs — who couldn’t be reached Wednesday — said in October 2016 his firm was waiting on “corporate players” to resolve issues before the project could begin construction in earnest. Only some internal parts of the mall have been renovated for the project.

But Heberer said it is his understanding after talking to principals that Michael Wachs Associates wants to alter the Johnstown Mall somewhat in an effort to still accommodate the Planet Fitness project.

“The building is going to be rearranged internally,” Heberer said. “The last I heard is they’re going to come back to the [Johnstown City] Planning Board in January or February.”

What the reconfiguration of the Johnstown Mall might constitute hasn’t been made public yet.

Original plans for the Planet Fitness called for remodeling an existing part of the mall that used to house the former Yankee One Dollar store and former HealthLink, and included construction of an addition to the retail space. A 3,600-square-foot addition to the mall was planned to house lockers and restrooms. The new Planet Fitness site will basically encompass an area between Peebles Department Store and the Johnstown Movieplex, original plans say.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]


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