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Fitness club gets pumped up

Aaron Kremer September 15, 2009 2

robiousoutsideRobious Sports & Fitness Club will be getting a new owner and a million-dollar upgrade.

Boxwood, a Richmond-based merchant bank, purchased the 20-year-old club from CJW Medical Center for an undisclosed price. CJW is a part of the Hospital Corporation of America.

First Market Bank provided the financing. In 2009, Chesterfield County assessed the land and buildings — on Koger road behind the Chesterfield Towne Center mall — at $7.4 million.

Boxwood is in the process of hiring a firm to design a master plan, which will call for $1 million to $1.5 million in renovations to the facility.

The renovations “could include an expanded child-care area, additional indoor tennis courts, new carpet, and a whole new look and feel around the facility,” said Patrick Galleher, a principal at Boxwood, adding that the work may start within a few months.

“We may potentially put in a 24-hour area where members can come in and out with key-card access,” Galleher said.

robioustreadmillsThe health club industry is highly competitive, but one of the few to see growth in the past few years around Richmond. Both Gold’s Gym and American Family Fitness have expanded locally, and several upstarts have also found new niches. (You can read about one new style of gyms here).

Galleher said Robious S&F has several strong competitive advantages, including tennis and racquetball facilities, as well as training and summer camps and a swimming pool. The facility is spread over 11 acres and encompasses 70,000 square feet in Midlothian.

“It’s a lot more family oriented, like a country club without the golf course,” he said, adding that the club doesn’t compete with Gold’s and has a more convenient location than a new American Family Fitness gym.

Memberships cost between $70 and $100 a month.

This is the first foray into the gym industry for Boxwood, which was formed in 2008 and so far has purchased Coffee Wholesale USA.

The deal came about more than six months ago when Ward Hamilton, the longtime general manager at the club, asked Boxwood if it would consider making the acquisition, Galleher said.

“There was an offer from someone else to buy it,” Galleher said, “and he wanted to find a friendlier partner to buy it.”

Ward initially helped build the facility. In a press release, he said the current management and staff will continue to run the business, which has 6,500 members.

Ward previously started the Robious Racquet Club.

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. Please send news tips to [email protected]

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  1. Terry Bateman September 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    WOW!!! Being a captain of roughly 9 tennis teams annually playing at Robious Sports & Fitness, this is an exciting moment. Our tennis membership has grown over the years and we are in desperate need of upgrades on our courts, also adding courts. This will only enhance our membership and making us even stronger as we compete with other local clubs.

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