EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 15, 2012

Planet Fitness to come to Shawsheen Plaza

Center plans to open early next year

By Jonathan Phelps
jphelps@eagletribune.com

---- — ANDOVER — The former Marshalls storefront at Shawsheen Plaza, which has been vacant for over 18 months, will soon become a Planet Fitness.

The fitness center will take up about 17,300-square-feet of the space, while the rest will be turned into an additional retail spot, said Taylor Mandell, regional manager for Planet Fitness franchises located in Essex and Middlesex counties.

The discount retailer closed in March 2011 after nearly 17 years in town.

Mandell said the town fit the demographics the company looks for in opening a new fitness center. Shawsheen Plaza was identified as the best spot, he said.

“Planet Fitness is the largest growing fitness company in the country and there is a reason for that,” Mandell said. “We offer the most value than any other fitness company.”

The fitness center will offer free group fitness instruction, cardio machines and strength equipment for every muscle group. Membership will be $10-a-month for the Andover location and $19.99 to use any Planet Fitness in the country.

Planet Fitness has over 500 locations nationwide and is described online as “the most innovative health club brand in the United States, known for absurdly low prices.”

Town planning officials said when the Marshalls called that they were hoping to see a comparable business move in. But Andover Planning Director Paul Materazzo said yesterday that the fitness center will be a good addition to the plaza.

“It is great for the town to see the space occupied after 18 months,” Materazzo said

He said it will drive traffic to the plaza, which will help the other businesses. “It will provide an interaction between the other businesses,” he said.

Mandell said the fitness center is slated to open within the first three months of next year.

There are still several vacancies in the plaza, several new businesses will also be opining up. Stop & Shop owns the master lease to the plaza.

Raagini Indian Bistro opened in the former Cardsmart spot a few weeks ago and Sport Clips, a haircut place will open in the near future.

“We have several other deals in the works, but cannot confirm anything else yet,” said Suzi Robinson, a spokeswoman for Stop & Shop.