Planning Commissioners approved a proposed Chuze Fitness location in North Long Beach Thursday night, which is slated to take over half of an old Food 4 Less store that closed in 2021.
The 100,883-square-foot building will be remodeled with a new interior wall that will separate the eastern portion of the building from the new gym, which will be located on the western side.
The project, located in the shopping center at the intersection of South Street and Cherry Avenue, will include nearly 30,000 square feet of individual and group workout areas as well as other amenities like a sauna, steam room and an area for tanning, according to plans submitted to the city.
The Planning Commission’s vote to approve the gym and the necessary conditional use permit because of its size will be final unless someone files an appeal against the project, according to Rick De La Torre, a spokesperson for the city’s Development Services Department.
While the renderings submitted to the city included signage for an El Super grocery store to be located in the eastern portion of the building, De La Torre said that the city does not have a proposal or commitment from a tenant at this time. But De La Torre added that the property management group is continuously looking for one for the vacant space.
The Food 4 Less was closed in April 2021 just a few months after the City Council voted to approve a “hero pay” wage increase for frontline grocery workers during the pandemic. The vote for a $4-per-hour increase was quickly followed by a lawsuit challenging the vote and led to the closure of the Food 4 Less and an East Long Beach Ralphs location.
The Kroger Co. operates both the Ralphs and Food 4 Less brands.
The gym is expected to operate 24 hours per day, and the developer said in its proposal that the gym would create about 30 jobs once the gym is open.