12th Street Gym, which has served as a community gathering place in the Gayborhood for more than 30 years, will close its doors on January 31.
The gym at 204 S. 12th Street, a standout in the neighborhood thanks to its colorful mural of LGBTQ Gloria Casarez, made the announcement to its more than 4,000 members on Wednesday.
The closure comes weeks after news spread that the building had been sold earlier this year. The gym was also dealing with the weight of code violations issued by L&I last year. In a message to its members, 12th Street Gym said:
For more than 30 years, 12th Street Gym has served as not only a premier fitness center for the Philadelphia area, but also provided a warm community environment that welcomed everyone, from all walks of life. Through the years, we have been fortunate enough to have some the most talented and vibrant trainers, staff, and group fitness instructors in the city as part of our team. Over the past year, we have been forced to evaluate the future of 12th Street Gym.
With heavy hearts, we must announce that 12th Street Gym will close its doors for the last time at 11 pm on January 31, 2018.
It’s a loss to 12th Street’s Gym’s members and the community, and the building’s future now remains uncertain. While the gym has had a long history here, previously it was served as Camac Baths, a sweat bath for Jewish men.
12th Street Gym then took over for more than 30 years. In 2015, the mural of Gloria Casarev was painted onto the gym’s facade. “It’s become very much a fabric of the neighborhood and the community,” Jane Golden, executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, told the Inquirer earlier this month. She said that if the building is demolished, Mural Arts will consider replicating it elsewhere.
While the gym will close, it worked out a partnership with Philadelphia Sports Club that will honor all remaining 12th Street Gym memberships at their locations (220-250 South 5th Street, 1735 Market Street, and 2000 Hamilton Street).
In addition, nearby gym Optimal Sport announced it will expand its footprint by tacking on another 800 square feet at its current location at 1315 Walnut Street and offer deals to current 12th Street Gym members. “As a competitor we had great respect for the legacy that 12th Street Gym created over 30 years. We hope to inherit some of that legacy through our close connections to the diverse communities we proudly serve,” said Jeff Shablin, co-owner of Optimal Sport, in a statement.