Utah-based Vasa Fitness coming to Indy

Orem, Utah-based Vasa Fitness plans to enter the Indianapolis market with a location at a former Kroger store at 5325 E. Thompson Road on the city’s southeast side.

“Vasa seeks out locations that are very large, and the 60,000-square-foot Thompson facility in Indianapolis is a perfect venue for us to transform,” Vasa CEO Rich Nelson told IBJ via email.

Nelson declined to share details about the Indianapolis project, including its expected opening date and possible future expansion plans here.

But according to documents filed with the city last month, the company intends to build a gym that includes an indoor pool, basketball court, individual and group fitness areas, a massage and tanning area, a childcare area and other amenities.

The space, in a strip shopping center just east of Emerson Avenue, has been vacant since Kroger vacated the spot in November 2015 for a new larger store right across the street. Work crews were doing interior demolition at the site this week.

Established in 1996, Vasa currently has 35 locations in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, with another seven locations soon to open in those states. Nelson said the company also plans to open 12 clubs in three new states by early next year.

The chain has been in growth mode in recent years.

In 2014, 17 former Gold’s Gym locations in Utah were rebranded as Vasa Fitness. Silver Oak Services Partners, a private equity firm based in Evanston, Illinois, also became an investor in the company that year.

The trade publication clubindustry.com named Vasa as the nation’s 19th largest health club operator, based on 2017 revenues. Vasa reported $91 million in revenue for 2017, with 32 locations at the end of that year.

And last week, WLFI TV in West Lafayette reported that Vasa plans to open a Lafayette location in a former Marsh supermarket there.

In other retail news this week:

Greenleaf Juicing Co., which sells a variety of juices, smoothies, soups and other items, is preparing to open its second local store at 4930 N. Pennsylvania St., in a space that formerly housed a Noble Roman’s restaurant.

Greenleaf entered the local market in 2017 when it opened at 18 N. Meridian St., just south of Monument Circle. The company also has five locations in Portland, Oregon.

Cofounder Garret Flynn, a native Hoosier, was living in Portland when he and a friend started Greenleaf. Flynn and his wife have since moved back to Indianapolis.

A new entertainment spot, 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, opens at 4 p.m. Thursday at 110 E. New York St.

The 21-and-up establishment, which offers more than 40 vintage arcade games plus beer and cocktails, will occupy about 11,500 square feet of retail space in the mixed-use development The Whit. IBJ first reported on the location in 2017.

Part of Columbus, Ohio-based Rise Brands, 16-Bit also has locations in four Ohio cities: Columbus, Dublin, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Locations in Charlotte, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee are set to open later this year.

Rise Brands also operates Pins Mechanical Co., a duckpin bowling and pinball venue that will be part of the $300 million Bottleworks District project now under construction at 850 Massachusetts Ave.

Pins Mechanical currently has locations in Columbus, Dublin and Cincinnati, with locations set to open by the end of the year in Charlotte and Nashville.

U-Haul has closed its retail showroom at 6525 E. Washington St. in Irvington and opened a new facility about a mile east of there in a former Kmart store at 7425 E. Washington St.

The new location, called U-Haul Moving & Storage of Eastgate, occupies 178,963 square feet. It includes a 598-unit self-storage facility and a showroom that sells moving supplies, boxes, trailer hitches and other items.

The Irvington site is now an unstaffed location with 115 self-storage units. Customers can also pick up trucks at this location using U-Haul’s Truck Share 24/7 smartphone app.

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ west-side branch is moving next week to a new location, 5620 Crawfordsville Road.

The current branch at 10 S. Mickley Ave. will be open through Saturday. Then, starting Tuesday, operations will shift to the new location.

The new location will include four self-service BMV Connect kiosks where users can complete more than a dozen routine transactions, including vehicle registration renewals and driver’s license renewals, 24 hours a day.

And, finally a few closings to note:

Nook Paleo, which opened early last year at 15 E. Maryland St. downtown, closed earlier this month. A sign on the restaurant’s door last week said, “Nook is closed for the summer and will look to reopen in September.”

And Bonna Station, which opened in August at 130 S. Audubon Road in Irvington, also closed this month. The restaurant’s owner was Amy Baggott, wife of Clustertruck founder Chris Baggott.

The Baggotts are also owners of Tyner Pond Farm and Griggsby’s Station restaurant, both of which are in Greenfield; as well as The Mug restaurants in Greenfield and Irvington.

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