Planet Fitness Marks Newest Step in Southern Park’s Redevelopment

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Planet Fitness’ move to the Southern Park Mall finally came to fruition after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The official decision to move the Mahoning Valley fitness center from its original location in the Boardman Plaza came in the middle of 2019, said Jonathan Habuda, director of operations for franchisee TG3 Enterprises Inc., at the gym’s grand opening Wednesday. 

Planet Fitness, which opened April 1, has 27,857 square feet offering more than 120 pieces of exercise equipment and other implements located near JCPenney and Buffalo Wild Wings. Finding the right spot for the business and members was important, he said. Parking has been vastly expanded from the Boardman Plaza site, which was established in 2010. The move from the Boardman Plaza site, a little over a mile east on U.S. Route 224, involved closing the old location for 2½ days to relocate equipment, Habuda said. More than 75% of the equipment in the Southern Park mall location is new.

The former mall entrance which led to Chick-Fil-A and JCPenney and other parcels inside the large building made way for Planet Fitness, along with adding some additional space, said Southern Park Mall general manager Brian Gabbert.

“We took about seven spaces and added them together,” he said.  

There are 49 treadmills, seven upright bicycles and 80 other pieces of equipment occupying the 24-hour gym, he said. All the cardio equipment is new and there is some new strength equipment. There are new tanning beds, massage chairs and hydro loungers in the Black Card Member areas.  

Southern Park Mall leases the space to Planet Fitness, a move that needed to be made — an agreement from the TG3 Enterprises team, Habuda said. It employs 14.

“What we’ve done to Planet Fitness when it comes to the builds and what the gyms look like, let alone what the equipment and the black card spas are like are absolutely night and day,” Habuda said . “We’ve had such a long-lasting membership base here. We wanted to give them what we’re giving a lot of other towns such as Cranberry [Pa.], Austintown and Avon, who have beautiful clubs.”

Southern Park Mall started working on this space in the fall of 2020 before turning over possession to Planet Fitness on Jan. 1, Gabbert said. The new gym is just one of the many changes coming to the mall through 2022. On the mall’s other side, on the the site of the former Sear’s building, mall owner Washington Prime Group is developing DeBartolo Commons, featuring an indoor golf center and restaurant, a brewhouse, greenspace with an amphitheater and athletic fields. Other interior improvements are planned as well and Planet Fitness opening is vital for the upcoming expansion, Gabbert said.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is expand our footprint into the community,” he said. “We want this to be a community center – a place where you can do all kinds of things, not just shop.

“This gives us the opportunity to partner with a great organization like Planet Fitness and bring in a new use to the center,” Gabbert continued

Pictured: Planet Fitness at the Southern Park Mall had its grand opening on April 14. Pictured from left to right are Ryan Mikolaj, Johnny Zucco, Kaitlyn Rohrman, Melanie Black, Terry Pitts, Melissa Burke, Samarra Patterson, Marissa St. George and Devoun Fletcher.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.