The Bally Total Fitness in closed May 31.
But Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley says the space may not be vacant for long.
Though he doesn’t have specifics, he said he knows at least two fitness clubs are interested in the site, and he expects to know more within the next three to five weeks.
“I’m optimistic we’ll have somebody in there,” Kelley said. “I talked to the owners of the mall twice about this. They’re very optimistic … it used to be a health club so it should stay a health club. I think that space cries out for a health club."
The owners of Severance, Pine Tree Commercial Realty, LLC, said they could not answer questions about the space, as “in deference to the privacy of our tenants, we do not discuss specific lease particulars, either with respect to existing or future leases.”
“We can tell you that we do not like to lose any tenants; however, the turnover of tenants paves the road to new and exciting opportunities for Severance Town Center, and we are hard at work to make those opportunities a reality,” said Bruce Boruszak, executive vice president and general counsel for Pine Tree, in an email.
Kelley said Bally clubs around the country are closing, and Severance won’t be the last.
“The owners didn’t force them out or raise the rates,” Kelley said.
Bally Total Fitness Holding Corporation announced in April it was selling 39 fitness clubs in nine states including New York and Missouri to Blast Fitness Acquisition, LCC, according to a press release on PR Newswire.
Calls to the Bally corporate office were not returned. Information from three customer service representatives was not consistent about the future of Cleveland-area clubs in Beachwood, Brook Park, Broadview Heights, Westlake, Maple Heights and Willoughby.
Bally’s isn’t the only vacancy in Severance. as its "super" version is opening about a mile away at Oakwood Commons. since October 2010.
Kelley said negotiations for the former bookstore space are in the works and he’s not sad that Walmart is leaving.
He added that Pine Tree is working to improve the look of Severance, starting with repairing potholes in the road and parking lot, restriping the lots and enhancing the landscaping.
“It’s going to hurt for a little bit financially, but I look at this as an opportunity, and, goodbye to Walmart,” he said. “When this is over and done with and Walmart moves out of Cleveland Heights, it will be one of the best things for Cleveland Heights. This is an opportunity to repackage and redevelop that mall.”