For Londoner Amir Rasinlic, the location of the former Movati Athletic in south London was a big reason why he was a member.
So, when he heard a new gym was opening at the same Wonderland Road South location, now under the name Damian Warner Fitness Centre following the abrupt closing of Movati last year, Rasinlic decided to join.
“I’m about seven minutes away, so it’s a nice, close drive,” he said.
“So, when they posted (on social media) a few weeks ago that they were opening back up, I figured let’s try it.”
Rasinlic was among dozens of Londoners already working out at the renovated space that opened its doors Monday under its new name and ownership, development firm Southside Group.
Also among the crowd was Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner, who will be providing input into how the fitness clubs operate and was touring the facilities Monday.
“I’m feeling pretty excited,” said the 2020 Olympic champion and three-time world medalist in track and field.
“It’s one of those things where it’s been talked about for so long, but to see your name up there and to come in here and see everything working, people working out, it’s really cool.”
Movati Athletic closed its north and south London fitness centres with little notice on Aug. 31, leaving more than 100 people without jobs and thousands without a gym membership.
At the time, the fitness chain, which operates 16 clubs in Ontario and Alberta, cited “unique circumstances, isolated to London” for its decision to close the clubs.
Though the two new fitness centres, at 755 Wonderland Rd., north of Oxford Street, and 3198 Wonderland Rd., are now functioning, some work remains at both locations.
Key among them is the opening of new “cross-functional” areas for CrossFit or “group-style circuit training,” one of the improvements Warner had previously said he wanted to bring to the gyms.
At the south location, the cross-functional area goes now along a more open concept at the gym, a new hot yoga studio and a dedicated women’s-only area.
“We’re kind of trying to take advantage of different areas and every aspect of what we can, so you get really everything in one building,” said Christy Cruikshank, who managed the Movati clubs and now is at the helm of both Damian Warner facilities.
Cruikshank said the response from Londoners to the reopening has been great so far, and they are looking forward to the new experience they hope to provide to members.
“I think the buzz is going to start being created,” she said.
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