CITRUS PARK — New life is being breathed into the abandoned Circuit City building on Gunn Highway, bringing a sports-themed business into the former retail space.
Extensive renovations are under way, and soon work crews will install turf, weight machines and physical therapy equipment. The familiar red-and-white Circuit City logo is already gone, but the new red-and-white logo replacing it will be unfamiliar to most in the state.
Florida's first D1 Sports Training facility will open here, offering high-intensity workouts, physical therapy and other sports medicine services.
The company already has 10 other facilities nationwide, mostly in the South and in Ohio, and has a reputation for attracting current and former professional athletes to its locations. Each D1 facility signs up pros as co-owners.
Tim Tebow recently became co-owner of the Savannah, Ga., location. Heather Mitts, a former University of Florida soccer standout and professional player, signed on to the Cincinnati facility. Peyton Manning is co-owner of all three Tennessee locations: Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville.
Tampa will have similar high-profile backers, although the names are under wraps for now, said Matt Toy, corporate public relations director.
The facility won't cater exclusively to big names. About half of its clients are everyday adults who attend boot camps and other specialized workouts.
The company also has programs for youths and college athletes, and it partners with medical professionals to offer rehabilitation services.
"The way we train is very different than just your average gym," Toy said. "When you are inside D1, you're training your total body."
The company is not ready to share some details of the new Citrus Park location, he said. No grand opening date has been set, and the website's prediction of a summer opening is now outdated. The facility should open later this year, Toy said, but business partnerships haven't been solidified.
Yet Westchase Sports Medicine Orthopaedics has already rebranded itself using the D1 name. Its website says it will be the official sports medicine provider at the new training facility.
Representatives from both companies, however, declined to give details.
Generally speaking, all D1 locations have a strong physical therapy and sports medicine component, attracting athletes nursing injuries as well as those looking for an edge up on the competition before scouting events or drafts.
The facilities normally include an artificial football field, workout equipment and therapy rooms. Other D1 centers are under construction in Pittsburgh and Bowling Green, Ky.
Tampa Bay became an attractive location because of its reputation as a strong sports market and the availability of qualified doctors, Toy said.
"We look for markets that really value training and athletes, and we look for places that have good athletes," he said. "We also look for a top-notch therapy partner."
Circuit City closed its 32,000-square-foot building at 6918 Gunn Highway after the company went out of business in 2009 and closed every store. The property was originally listed at $6.9 million, but records show it was sold in April for $2 million. The ownership traces back to Onicx, a general contracting firm that is in charge of the renovation project.
Tia Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3405.