An obsolete health club in Omaha is to see a different 24-hour use — as apartments

The North Park structure to expand upward and outward

By: - May 18, 2022 5:45 am
Apartments repurposed from fitness center

Rendering of apartments to be repurposed from an old 24 Hour Fitness northeast of 120th and Blondo Streets. View is along 120th Street. (Courtesy of Holland Basham Architects)

Editor’s note: This has been updated to revise the cost of the project.

After sitting vacant and in disrepair for four years, a former 24 Hour Fitness in northwest Omaha is poised to bounce back as a $35 million apartment complex.

In its new form, the obsolete health club will gain heft and height: A single story is to grow into six, and new wings are to be built in the parking lot.

Old parts will be fine-tuned as well, with an indoor pool revamped and an airy lobby retooled as a main entrance for residents of the 150-unit market-rate project.

Apartment complex repurposed from 24-hour fitness gym
Rendering of apartments at 2718 N. 118th St. View is from the back of the facility along 118th Street.  (Courtesy of Holland Basham Architects)

‘Could be a prototype’

The repurposing of the structure northeast of 120th and Blondo Streets has received a preliminary thumbs up from City of Omaha planning officials, who see it as a good re-use of a derelict infill property.

And while transformation of old office buildings and warehouses into trendy housing has become rather commonplace, a spokesman for the development team said he’s unaware of another health club in the area that has shifted to use as apartments. 

“We think it makes a lot of sense,” said J.F. Carter of Omaha-based CFM Realty. “We’re really happy with the plan, and if it goes right, we think this could be a prototype that could be used elsewhere.”

Old 24-Hour Fitness Center
The back of the vacant fitness center to be revived into apartments in the North Park office and retail campus. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

Carter said his team was the original developer and owner of the structure at 2718 N. 118th St., which opened in 1999 with 24 Hour Fitness as its first tenant. AVG Partners of Beverly Hills, California, eventually bought the property.

North Park commercial area

For the past four years or so, the structure has sat empty and grew to be an eyesore at the North Park office and retail park. AVG tapped CFM to redevelop the property, Carter said.

CFM looked at various uses and became intrigued with the apartment idea after seeing a repurposed furniture store that Holland Basham Architects worked on near 72nd and Dodge Streets, Carter said.

That project, the Swivel Apartments, features dwellings built on top of and around the former retail space.

Carter said a market study also showed demand for more apartments in the North Park area.

Yet to be named, the new apartment project will be a combination of brand-new and renovated space. Holland Basham Architects is working on its design, also. 

Carter said the footprint of the 40,000-square-foot health club structure will double, with new construction spreading into the parking lot. 

Pool, dog park, pickleball

Amenities are to include indoor parking, fitness center, indoor pool, movie room, business center and two clubhouses.

Passers-by along 120th Street will see an outdoor pool, dog park and pickleball court.

24 Hour Fitness in disrepair
Structure to be repurposed into apartments. View is along 120th Street north of Blondo. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

The project requires rezoning from its current light industrial use, but the City Planning Board has recommended approval to the City Council.

Eric Englund, assistant planning director,  said he expects the transformation to be challenging, but he called it a “great reuse” of an infill property that has sat vacant for years. 

Carter put the estimated price tag at $35 million on Wednesday and called it a “win-win” for the North Park office campus and the city tax rolls. 

“We love turning a property you don’t know what to do with into a really positive asset,” he said.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

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