Bethesda’s Fitness First Gym To Close

Landlord plans to terminate lease to make way for redevelopment


A police officer conducts crosswalk enforcement in front of Fitness First on Wisconsin Avenue.

Joe Zimmermann

Downtown Bethesda gym Fitness First will close at the end of this month.

The fitness club’s president announced the closing to members in an email Monday.

The gym at 7900 Wisconsin Ave. will shut its doors June 30 to make way for expected redevelopment. Developer JBG Cos., the landlord of the property, has long planned a 17-story, 475-unit apartment building at the site.

Fitness First originally planned to remain in its location until its lease expired in 2019 and even looked at expanding in the same building. However, Peter Harvey, president of Fitness First, wrote that the gym was informed last week JBG would end the lease sooner.

“We received formal notification from JBG, that they intend on terminating our lease to commence their redevelopment efforts,” Harvey wrote in an email to members. “It is no longer financially feasible to continue to fight their efforts to redevelop sooner, and so we are sad to announce the closing.”

The redevelopment project received preliminary approval from the Montgomery County Planning Board in 2013 before the developer put the project on hold in 2015.

The closing marks the end of an era for a local gym chain. Fitness First, which was founded in Silver Spring, was acquired by Gold’s Gym in 2013 and 17 of its 18 locations were sold to the fitness company. The Bethesda gym is its last remaining location. The last group classes and child care sessions will be held Sunday.

“This is a sad time for all of us here at Fitness First, as it is the final chapter for our company,” Harvey wrote.

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