A popular Cork city gym that went into liquidation last year with debts of more than €660,000 is set to re-open in April under new ownership and following a major refurbishment.
Source Health and Fitness in Tivoli was purchased before Christmas at a cost of €790,000 by McHugh Property Holdings and will be managed by Séamus Crowe, owner of two Galway gyms.
Mr Crowe said the 48,000 sq ft property is currently undergoing structural assessment and he hopes to begin refurbishment by the end of January: “Once refurbishment starts, we would hope to be up and running within 12 weeks."
The former professional soccer player with Wolverhampton Wanderers said the gym and wet area - which includes a 25m swimming pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi - will be his first area of focus.
He said the building, which has suffered from leaks, will be made watertight with significant improvements made to the pool and changing facilities.
“As for the gym, we will be taking out 98% of the equipment and replacing it. It will be unrecognisable from what it was,” Mr Crowe said.
“If you walk in as an ex-member, you will see a huge improvement,” he said.
The sauna and steam room will also be replaced and a downstairs open plan area will be fully redesigned to include a complete revamp of the restaurant area, which will be moved to the ground floor level. The building will be wheelchair accessible, with a lift and a beauty salon.
A creche is also expected to operate from the premises, which may be run by an outside operator, but which members will be able to utilise.
Squash courts and a tennis court will be retained and membership rates and opening hours will be “similar” to what they were prior to the decision to close Source on June 30 last.
“Rates won’t be a million miles away from what they were, but we won’t be a budget gym,” Mr Crowe said.
Mr Crowe said he intends to meet with former staff of Source to gauge interest in working at the new facility. This includes meeting with well-known swimming coach, Eilis Burns, who previously ran classes at Source.
“I am keen to re-capture the community spirit that everyone associated with Source,” Mr Crowe said.
He also intends to offer former members a chance to view the new facility and sign-up, at a discounted rate, before it officially opens.
Up to last year, a gym had operated at the premises since 1985.