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Shapes closing two gyms in Hillsborough, transferring memberships

TAMPA — Two of 12 Shapes gyms for women, including a location slated for the area's first Trader Joe's store, are closing by the end of the month and transferring memberships to other fitness clubs.

In letters sent to customers this week, memberships to the Swann Avenue Shapes in South Tampa have been transferred to Calta's Fitness Center at 4320 W Gandy Blvd. in Tampa, effective immediately. Starting Aug. 1, memberships to the Hillsborough Avenue Shapes will be honored at the YouFit Health Club at 13891 W Hillsborough Ave. near Race Track Road.

As part of the agreement, members of the Swann Shapes also will be able to use any other Shapes location until their contract expires and will receive an additional six months free at any Shapes gym.

News of the closures comes a few months after Shapes closed its gym in Largo.

The Tampa-based company will have 10 remaining locations: in Brandon, Temple Terrace, Wesley Chapel, Carrollwood, Port Richey, Seminole, Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Bradenton.

Shapes management said the decision to close the Swann location was based on a pending sale of the property at 3808 W Swann Ave. and the opening of another fitness center, presumably the LA Fitness up the street on Dale Mabry Highway.

"These events have dramatically affected our ability to continue operating Shapes as a profitable facility," the July 15 letter states.

The letter didn't mention Trader Joe's specifically, but efforts have been in the works for months to build a Trader Joe's grocery store on the site. Trader Joe's has proposed demolishing the Shapes gym and building a 12,301-square-foot store with 70 parking spaces. A request to increase the amount of signage allowed on the property goes to the city of Tampa's Variance Review Board on Aug. 13.

The letter from Shapes management ended weeks of speculation about what will happen to the longtime South Tampa gym. Despite widespread reports that Trader Joe's was working toward getting the site, Shapes officials offered few details about if and when the gym was closing until the letter went out.

Some members have opposed having their memberships transferred to another gym because it's not equivalent to Shapes. Calta's is co-ed and doesn't have a pool for aquatic classes but plans to create a private area for women only.

Shapes officials said it was closing the gym at 10051 W Hills­borough Ave. in the Colony Crossing shopping center because the property owner hadn't made improvements or added tenants as was promised.

Colony Crossing officials could not be reached for comment. The center used to house a Publix supermarket, which closed after Publix bought the nearby Albertsons store and converted it into a Publix.

Shapes is not offering refunds on memberships.

Susan Thurston can be reached at sthurston@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3110.

Shapes closing two gyms in Hillsborough, transferring memberships 07/18/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:49pm]
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