Setback delays Crunch Fitness openings in Vancouver

New opening dates set after structural concerns at one site slowed permitting process

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer

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Crunch Fitness, originally slated to open two gyms in Vancouver in the spring, now says its gyms will open in September and October.

The first location, near the intersection of Southeast 164th and Mill Plain Boulevard, will open the week of Sept. 11, according to partner Damion Clanton. The second, near Vancouver Mall, will open the first week of October.

The gyms were delayed in the permitting process, specifically around the ability of some walls to hold up the proposed air conditioning system at the first location.

When the city asked Crunch Fitness to fix the issues and resubmit their permit applications, it caused a 45-day delay, Clanton said.

“Definitely a lesson learned for us,” he said. “I guess in Vancouver, there are so many people building here that if you have to (revise a plan), you go to the back of the line. It needs to be correct and right or the city is not going to approve it, which is a good thing.”

Those problems have been fixed, Clanton said. The second gym was always scheduled to open a month after the first, so its opening was pushed back as well. They also had to wait for some of the financing, owner Steve Block said.

About 2,500 people have already signed up for the two gyms, each paying between $10 and $20 in membership fees.

Some had been vocal on social media and called The Columbian wondering what was going on. Clanton said he understood their concerns.

“We’ve said it a million times: People have a right to be upset,” he said. “When you give a time and a date of when it’s supposed to be open — specifically if they cancelled a membership to join us — we feel bad.”

Crunch Fitness first announced its 18,000-square-foot gym at Southeast 164th back in January. Neighbors who had grown tired of seeing the former Borders store, which folded in 2011, welcomed the new project. The building has so far cost $1.1 million in construction with $700,000 in equipment, Clanton said.

Its Vancouver Mall location will weigh in at 19,500-square-feet, with $1.2 million in repairs and $650,000 in equipment. Both gyms expect to hire between 40 and 45 employees.

Besides the two Clark County locations, Crunch Fitness has four gyms in the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area.