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Planet Fitness Opening New Facility in Chatham

By Wendell Hutson | April 2, 2013 7:13am | Updated on April 2, 2013 1:34pm

CHATHAM — Planet Fitness is picking up where Bally's Total Fitness left off after shutting down a year ago.

A new Planet Fitness is set to open April 30 in the Chatham Market strip mall anchored by Wal-Mart at 8300 S. Holland Road. Membership will be $10 a month.

"It fits my price range and is open on Sundays, two main things I needed to get back into the gym," said Jasmine Taylor, a 34-year-old teacher's assistant who has lived in Chatham for 10 years. "My brother was trying to get me to join LA Fitness, but this is closer and has all the stuff I need to get back in shape."

The 24-hour health club also will offer a $19.95 per month Black Card membership that allows members to bring a guest anytime.

"Our opening in Chatham is part of our Chicago expansion," said Cat Thoreson, marketing director for Planet Fitness. "With 620 facilities and 4.5 million members nationwide, we don't plan on going anywhere."

Members 13- to 15-years-old must be accompanied by an adult over 18, and teenagers 16- to 18-years-old need a waiver signed by their parents to work out alone.

Because monthly membership is only $10, Thoreson said no family memberships are available.

Thoreson said Chatham was chosen in part because of what she described as the area's "fitness desert."

"There are no fitness facilities in this area, and we want to fill that void," Thoreson said.

The closest Planet Fitness to the Chatham facility is in south suburban Evergreen Park.

There is also a facility in Austin, and it has been a lifesaver to the West Side community, said Ald. Emma Mitts (37th).

“The Austin community greatly appreciates Planet Fitness coming to the Washington Square shopping center,” Mitts said. “Our residents now have access to a state-of-the-art facility to promote regular exercise.”

Bally's Total Fitness was at the Chatham Ridge Shopping Center at 87th Street and Lafayette Avenue for more than 10 years, according to Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), whose ward includes both the Chatham Ridge and Chatham Market shopping centers. Bally's closed all its Illinois clubs in December 2011 after it was sold to LA Fitness.

While Planet Fitness facilities do not offer swimming, basketball or tennis, they do offer fitness trainers and all the latest exercise equipment, Thoreson said.

"Our concentration is not sports activities or leisure amenities, like whirlpools, but the latest equipment for members to use to stay healthy and in shape," Thoreson said.

All the more reason that Taylor said she chose Planet Fitness.

"What I need is to work out, not sit up in a hot tub. A person could lose focus working out with stuff like that at your fingertips," Taylor said.